Knesset Delegation warns NATO of Arab Spring

“The Arab world and democracy are two things that have trouble connecting,” MK Dichter tells defense organization.

FADC with NATO officials 311 (photo credit: Courtesy FADC)
FADC with NATO officials 311
(photo credit: Courtesy FADC)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee warned of the dangers of a nuclear Iran and Islamist governments rising following the “Arab Spring,” during a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday and Monday.
MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima), Yohanan Plesner (Kadima), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Arye Eldad (National Union), Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) and Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) met with NATO officials, as well as US, Italian, Portuguese and Canadian ambassadors to the defense organization.
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Dichter said it would be a mistake to call the upheaval in the Middle East the “Arab Spring,” because it has led to radical elements being strengthened, and Hotovely said that it is more like an “Arab Winter.” “The Arab world and democracy are two things that have trouble connecting,” Dichter said.
Matalon agreed with Dichter, saying that democracy is a cultural matter that goes beyond the voting booth. He pointed out that Hitler was elected democratically.
Dichter added that he “has trouble understanding” why NATO has not intervened in the situation in Syria, after it battled Gaddafi’s forces in Libya.
Plesner, however, said that Iran is the real challenge, and that NATO cannot avoid action.
“We must not wait until the last minute, when it’ll already be too late,” he explained.
At the same time, Plesner pointed out that an attack on Syria or Iran by NATO will not be possible in the near future, because the organization makes decisions by consensus, and Turkey is unlikely to agree to an offensive on either country.
Dichter emphasized the importance of a pre-emptive attack on Iran, saying that NATO should learn from Israel’s experience in the Yom Kippur war, in which the IDF was surprised by Egyptian and Syrian forces.
“Iran is a global problem for the entire free world and not just Israel,” Hotovely said. “The world can’t expect Israel to solve its problem.”