NEW YORK – As some of the biggest names in Israeli politics prepare remarks for
the second annual Jerusalem Post Conference, one thing can be guaranteed: After
developments this week in Washington, every speaker can be expected to address
allegations that Syria’s Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against his own
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post before his speech to the
conference on Sunday, Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren said that Israel
would not push the United States toward engaging directly in the Syrian fight,
as Israel’s red line on that conflict is distinct from Washington’s: Any attempt
to transfer chemical weapons to Hezbollah, Oren said, would not be
“Israel and the United States are sovereign countries, and
whether it’s with Syria or Iran, each country has the right to determine how
best to act and defend itself,” Oren told the Post.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos
Yadlin, former director of the IDF’s Military Intelligence, also spoke of red
lines last week, challenging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s timeline by
saying that Iran was already at the cusp of acquiring nuclear weapons
capability. He will be joined by former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi
Ashkenazi and former Mossad head Meir Dagan, among others, on a “General’s
Forum” panel discussion at the conference on how to address security threats
from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Dagan – who famously presented
evidence to the administration of US president George W. Bush of a nuclear
weapons facility in eastern Syria in 2007 – is set to provide perspective on the
debate surrounding intelligence quality assessments emerging from the Syrian
conflict this week. It will be the first public appearance for Dagan – who had a
liver transplant in October – in more than a year.
The conference, held
on Sunday at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, will be attended by
more than 1,000 guests. Joining Oren, Yadlin and Dagan will be Energy and Water
Minister Silvan Shalom, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz and
Jerusalem Post Senior Contributing Editor Caroline B. Glick, among others. The
keynote speaker will be former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
event will be moderated by Jerusalem Post correspondent Yaakov Katz, and will be
live-tweeted and blogged on the paper’s website, JPost.com.
discussions will take place in the afternoon – on the two-state solution, the
strategic threats facing the Jewish state, and Israel’s energy potential.
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