Friday, September 8, 2006

U.S. Politicians Should Focus On Tehran, Netanyahu Says

September 8, 2006

"NEW YORK - Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of an American tour repositioning himself for a return to the Israeli premiership, told an audience in New York yesterday that President Bush is preparing to ditch the United Nations to take on Iran alone and that American politicians of all parties would do well to stop squabbling about Iraq and join the president in focusing on threat from Tehran.

The former prime minister, who leads the right of center Likud Party in opposition to the current government, went on to tell lunch guests of the Hudson Institute that another war between Hezbollah and Israel is inevitable and that a shift in Israeli politics is about to take place with his return to power and a return to the principles that guided thinking in Jerusalem until the Oslo Accords.

Israel's one-time ambassador to the United Nations urged Americans of all political persuasions to "not get caught up" arguing about Iraq. Mr. Netanyahu dismissed the argument that fears of Iranian plans for WMD might be false in the way that predictions on Iraq have come under question. Mr. Netanyahu said Israel had told America that claims about Iraq's weapons were based on "conjecture," while with Iran "we're not guessing. We know."

Mr. Netanyahu told the gathering at the Four Seasons that Prime Minister Olmert's Kadima party was built on the policy of unilateral withdrawals – a premise that is now dead. And so, went his implication, is the party and Mr. Olmert's premiership. The policy of unilateral withdrawals started with the Oslo Accords. He spoke of how, from Israel's founding until then, Israel's military and her relations with her Arab neighbors had been based on Vladimir Jabotinsky's concept of the "Iron Wall."

This was a reference to a phrase used by the right of center Zionist, who held that only when the Arabs became convinced that they couldn't destroy Israel – with every attack on Israel met by an "iron wall" – would peace follow. If Israel's deterrence and response to attack was so strong the Arab's found themselves banging themselves against an "Iron Wall," they'd realize the futility of trying to destroy Israel and seek peace. The "Iron Wall" principle, said Mr. Netanyahu, led to peace with Egypt and Jordan. They attacked Israel, were soundly defeated, and sued for peace."

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