There are no “quick fix solutions” with the Palestinians, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu said on Friday amid expectations that the anticipated
inclusion of Yesh Atid in the next government will breathe new life into the
moribund diplomatic process.
Netanyahu’s comments came at a meeting with
a bipartisan delegation of five US congressmen from the House Appropriations
Committee, headed by Jack Kingston (R-Georgia).
Netanyahu, according to
government officials, said he wanted to move ahead with the Palestinian
Authority toward an agreement, but that the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in
2005 and its aftermath showed that instant solutions were not possible. It was
necessary to move forward in a “measured and cautious” way, he said.
Atid chairman Yair Lapid said before the election that he would not join a
government that did not promote negotiations with the
Regarding Iran, Netanyahu told the congressmen that
“sanctions alone will not be enough” to get Tehran to halt its nuclear program,
and that the sanctions needed to be coupled with a credible military threat. If
there were such a credible threat, and the Iranians understood it, then
diplomacy could succeed, he said.
The prime minister reiterated his
position on the “red line” that Iran could not be allowed to pass, and said that
its program must be halted at the uranium enrichment stage, and not when it
entered the “weaponization” phase.
Concerning a credible military threat,
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday during an interview with The Daily
Beast at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that “there should be a
readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by
a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because
the world is determined to block them.”
Barak said that under the
administration of US President Barack Obama, the Pentagon had prepared “quite
sophisticated, fine, extremely fine, scalpels” for a surgical
“So it is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block
Iran,” he said. “You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst,
end up with a surgical operation.”
Israel, Barak said, preferred that the
Iranian nuclear problem would be solved through diplomacy.
“We of course
prefer that some morning we wake up and see that the Arab Spring was translated
into Farsi and jumped over the Gulf to the streets of Tehran,” he
said. “But you cannot build a plan on it.”
Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, met President Shimon Peres in Davos on Thursday and, according to Amano’s office,
stressed the need to resolve the differences with Iran
Amano told Peres that the IAEA had intensified “dialogue”
with Tehran, and made clear “the agency’s commitment to dialogue, and the need
to resolve issues with Iran by diplomatic means,” the IAEA said in a
In a related development, a former Iranian Foreign Ministry
representative told Channel 2 news on Friday that if Iran developed a nuclear
bomb, “it would definitely use it against Israel or against any other enemy
“The [Iranian] regime thinks that if it has several atom bombs,
it will grant it an insurance policy,” Mohammed Razza Hidari said.
believe that if [they have a nuclear weapon], the world would treat them the way
it treats North Korea.”
Hidari served as an Iranian envoy in several
countries, including Georgia and Norway, where he worked to recruit Western
nuclear scientists by promising them hefty salaries.
He warned that if
Iran was allowed to stall for more time, “it will have the knowledge to make a
nuclear bomb in less than a year.”
Hidari, who also worked at the Tehran
International Airport supervising incoming flights, said Venezuela provides
uranium for Iran’s nuclear program.
“Venezuela buys weapons from
criminals and sends them to Iran,” Hidari said. “Among the things sent were, for
example, uranium purchased from mob organizations and sent to the Islamic
He also revealed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
was in contact with terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan, that were
linked to the Taliban and to al-Qaida.
Hidari defected two years ago as a
result of witnessing the brutal way in which the Tehran regime suppressed
opposition protests, He went into hiding in Oslo, where he is working to
overthrown the Islamist regime.
“[The West] should impose political
sanctions on Iran [such as] closing all Iranian embassies, and not allowing
Iranian ministers to visit other countries, like they did with [South Africa’s]
apartheid regime,” he advised.
Yaara Shalom and Reuters
contributed to this report.