Vice Premier Silvan Shalom..
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
NEW YORK – Now is the time for the UN Security Council to impose “crippling” sanctions on Iran and place its leadership on an international “black list,” Vice Premier Silvan Shalom believes.
In a meeting in New York on Monday with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Shalom urged the top UN official to use his “moral voice” to urge the council to impose tough punitive measures on the Iranian regime, in particular placing Revolutionary Guards members on a black list.
“He should use his voice to try to ask the members of the Security Council to impose real sanctions, crippling sanctions, on Iran,” Shalom later told The Jerusalem Post
Speaking to reporters at the United Nations on Monday, Shalom said there was no doubt Iran was continuing to develop its nuclear program. “I believe, and we believe, that the Iranians will never abandon their dream to become a nuclear superpower,” he said. But the vice premier skirted questions about whether Israel had developed a nuclear capability.
“We are dealing with an extreme regime that said Israel should be wiped off the map,” he said, noting that one nuclear missile to Israel would destroy the Jewish state.
The two men also discussed the opening of “proximity talks,” shuttle negotiations conducted through a US intermediary with the Palestinian Authority. Shalom said he urged the secretary-general, in his upcoming meeting with the Middle East Quartet in Moscow, to call on Palestinians to have a direct dialogue with Israel.
“We can’t go backwards. Twenty years ago, we had direct negotiations,” Shalom told the Post
. “Israel would like to resume the negotiations directly, immediately.”
The meeting in New York came ahead of Ban’s trip to Israel, from March 19 to 21, when he plans to visit Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza.
A spokesman for Ban said that during the meeting with Shalom, Ban expressed regret over the “lack of any meaningful steps toward reconstruction and rehabilitation in the Gaza Strip, one year after Cast Lead.” Ban also asked the vice premier to ease closure.
“We don’t have any fight with the Palestinians themselves, but of course, with Hamas it’s different,” Shalom said. He said he hoped Ban would “do everything he can” to “bring a signal of life from Gilad Schalit.”
Shalom said Hizbullah operatives in southern Lebanon have tripled their number of missiles – to 40,000 from 12,000 – since 2006. “So what do you want us to do? Not find out where they’re hiding it?” he asked, in response to a question about IAF’s flights over southern Lebanon. “It’s only because we would like to defend our people and our country.”
During a briefing with reporters, when asked about Ankara’s desire to mediate between Israel and Syria, Shalom emphasized that Turkey “was and is a very good friend of Israel.”
But he does not envision new negotiations with Damascus, particularly while it is assisting Hizbullah.
Syria is trying to ask the Western world to treat it as a moderate
country, he said. “But at the same time, Syria is having very close
ties with Iran, with Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and all those
other terrorist organizations,” he said.
Shalom emphasized that Israel had nothing to do with January 19’s
assassination of Hamas’s Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, and said that
country’s chief of police was acting like a Hollywood actor by holding
daily press conferences.
“He should know that he is the chief of police of Dubai and not a movie
star,” Shalom said. Regarding the individuals placed on Interpol’s
wanted list at the request of Dubai, he said: “If the Interpol is after
them, so the Interpol is after them.”
“We are not part of the issue,” he said.