Iran can still be stopped

New on JPost.com blog central: former prime minister and Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.

By BINYAMIN NETANYAHU
January 1, 2007 14:41
4 minute read.
bibi netanyahu 88

bibi netanyahu 88. (photo credit: )

 
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It is possible to prevent the political and security landslide. Iran can still be stopped. The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is rapidly leading Israel to a political and security downfall while Iran is racing towards achieving a nuclear weapons capability. While Iran's leaders are busy denying the Holocaust, they also continue to announce their intentions of wiping the State of Israel off the map. Israel is like a bus speeding towards an abyss. The bus driver is tired and helpless. Let's examine recent developments, which all have one common denominator: weak leadership.

  • Hizbullah and Hamas are rapidly arming themselves thanks to the Israeli government's decision to refrain from taking action against them. Since the cease-fire was declared, dozens of Kassam rockets have been fired at the western Negev. The government continues not to react.
  • Recently, the US secretary of defense said he was unable to rule out a possibility that Iran would launch a nuclear attack against Israel. He also noted that the US would take against Iran only as a last resort. These words raise doubts as to American intentions to bring Teheran's nuclear race to a halt. These words are not to be taken lightly.
  • The Baker-Hamilton Report recommends that the US engage in talks with Iran and Syria in an attempt to reach a solution to the Iraqi problem. Although the report does not reflect the Bush Administration's policy towards Iran, it encourages a fundamental change of direction in American policy: from isolation to negotiation.
  • The Baker-Hamilton Report also argues that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a condition to stabilizing the rest of the Middle East's core problems. Here we find an attempt to create affinity: If Israel was to carry out concessions and territorial withdrawals, the Iranian and Iraqi problems would be solved. In reality, the situation is the complete opposite: If the problem of Iran, which Ismail Haniyeh defines as "the strategic backbone of Hamas", were solved, it would be easier to treat the conflict with the Palestinians. What can be learned from these bleak developments? What is the connection between them? Weakness invites pressure. The weakness of the Olmert government only expedites the decline of Israel's stature, both in the Middle East and around the world. If the Israeli government accepts the ongoing firing of Kassams at its cities, why shouldn't the world? If Olmert's government reacts limply to Iran's statements about its intentions to destroy Israel, why should we expect the world to act against them? Baker and Hamilton described the current mood in their report: "The majority of the political establishment in Israel has grown tired of a continuous state of a nation at war." What can we say about such words when even Olmert himself said similar things during an address he gave last year in the US: "We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being heroes. Tired of winning. Tired of beating our enemies." When even Israel's leadership sends out a message of fatigue and weakness, why should we be surprised that the world agrees? The main principle which we should follow is this: The key to promising the existence of Israel is developing strength. When one lives in a harsh environment, one must be strong. Israel must invest in building its strength as quickly as possible. I shall develop this point later on. In the meantime, we must focus on one urgent task: to curb the security and political downfall and bring Iran to a halt. This mission is possible, but it demands action on parallel shores: The diplomatic and PR effort: We must immediately launch an intense, international, public relations front focusing first and foremost on the US. The goal being to encourage President Bush to take up his specific promises not to allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make it clear to the government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the US and the entire world, not only Israel. We must make it clear that it is in the utmost interest of the free world to prevent fundamental Islamic regimes from building an atom bomb. The independent defense effort: Simultaneously, and with no connection to our efforts overseas, Israel must make every necessary step that would enable it to independently protect its citizens. The government must subjugate all national efforts to this higher cause. It must instruct the IDF, security branches, intelligence agencies and the bodies charged with protecting the home front to take immediate action to remove the existential threat Israel faces. I recommend that each and every morning, the prime minister personally ensures that these actions are carried out accordingly. He should not let go for even a split second. No one else should take over his authority or assume the responsibility. During his last visit to Washington, Mr. Olmert announced that this will be his policy, and good he did. However, words require action. In reality, the government is directionless and has no leadership. While Iran is steadily progressing with its nuclear plan, the Israeli government is busy creating media 'agendas' (i.e. changing the system of government) or dangerous plans, as the one Mr. Olmert presented in Sdeh Boker in which he laid out his agenda for territorial concessions. The time has come for the Israeli government to put our existence in its utmost priority. If it does so, I guarantee that both my party members and myself will give our full support in preparation against the Iranian threat, as we did in the Lebanon war. If the government does not come to its senses immediately, Mr. Olmert must make way for another leadership that would guarantee both our existence and our future. The blog was translated from Binyamin Netanyahu's website.

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