The world gradually accepts Iran’s statements of destruction against Israel and we still do not see the necessary international determination to stop Iran from arming itself.
PM Netanyahu interview with Channel Two news (22 Apr 2010):
When Barak Obama was still Senator Obama, he visited Israel during his presidential campaign. I said to him: "It could well be that you will lead the United States and I will lead Israel," and I said: "Of all the problems that flood your desk and keep you busy, in the end one will stand out – and that is the question of Iran’s military nuclear program because that program will decide the fate of the world. In that sense, if you’re elected president, your obligation will be to stop it, to try to organize a coalition to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." I think that there are certain steps that can be taken now that can be effective.
Barak Obama demonstrated his determination with regard to issues he felt were important, and his determination was quite impressive. I think President Obama can show that same determination with regard to Iran. If he does so, then certainly the United States can stop the Iranian nuclear program. But before military means, there is an obvious path that can be chosen and that is the path of strong sanctions, not necessarily only in the framework of the Security Council.
Our preference is that the United States lead this effort; that is crystal clear. If the United States can impose stiff sanctions, especially on importing gasoline to Iran – not necessarily through the Security Council, since I highly doubt such a move will pass there – outside the framework of the Security Council, there are several leading countries, led by the United States, that are part of such an effort and this could seriously impact upon the Iranian regime. Will it stop them? This remains to be determined. I hope it does. We just celebrated our 62nd Independence Day. What does independence mean for the Jewish people? First and foremost, it means having our own country and the ability to defend ourselves, so Israel will always reserve their right of self-defense.
FM Liberman meets with Spanish PM and FM (22 Apr 2010):
Foreign Minister Liberman said that Spain, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, should act decisively to halt Iran’s nuclear program and prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. He said that the Iranian nuclear program is way ahead of preventative actions on the part of the international community.
PM Netanyahu in One-on-One interview with George Stephanopoulos – ABC Good Morning America (19 Apr 2010):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for joining us again. Let’s talk about Iran. Headline in the New York Times today about a memo Defense Secretary Gates wrote back in January. Secret memorandum where he outlined his fear that the United States does not have an effective long range policy to take on Iran’s nuclear program. Do you share that fear?
NETANYAHU: Look, we all are concerned with Iran. I don’t get into internal American calculations, but you know, I spoke with President Obama when he was Senator Obama. He visited Israel. And I was the leader of the opposition at that time. And I said, if he gets elected President, I said to then-Senator Obama, all the issues that will flood his desk will one day be pushed aside by one overriding issue. And that is if Iran attempts to develop atomic bombs. Because they could very well either use it or threaten to use it or threaten to give it to terrorists or even give them a crude device with fissionable material that can be put in a container ship. And this could come to Manhattan or to any port in the United States or in Europe or, for that matter, in Israel. It’s a huge, huge danger. It’s the biggest issue facing our times. And I think that the president has expressed his understanding of how serious a challenge it is. And we all should work together as world leaders to make sure that that challenge is met. That Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if the current effort designed to get a sanctions resolution of the U.N. Security Council, is that effective?
NETANYAHU: Will the U.N. resolution affect it or the failure to pass the U.N. resolution on it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve had three U.N. resolutions so far and the Iranis have continued to develop their nuclear program. Do you believe that this next round of sanctions being discussed in the U.N. Security Council can be effective?
NETANYAHU: I don’t know about the Security Council. I hope so. And certainly the international community can deliver crippling sanctions. Let me tell you what they are. If you stop Iran from importing refined petroleum – that’s a fancy word for gasoline – then Iran simply doesn’t have refining capacity and this regime comes to a halt. I think that’s crippling sanctions. Now if the U.N. Security Council doesn’t pass it because they’ll dilute the resolution to get acquiescence of their members, then certainly the United States and other willing partners in the international community can do it outside. Can enforce these sanctions outside the Security Council. There is a way to deliver these crippling sanctions. This should be done now. In any case, the message should be clear to Iran that it will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Mr. Prime Minister, you know China’s not willing to go along with those crippling sanctions. Last week I spoke with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He made it clear that he was not willing to go along with those crippling sanctions. Then where are you left?
NETANYAHU: You’re left with doing it outside the Security Council. There’s a coalition of the willing and you can have very powerful sanctions. I think this is a minimal requirement right now to, not really to send messages but to actually make this regime begin to make choices. Because right now they feel they don’t have to make choices. They & understand that the spotlight is on them but they’re not doing anything. And the critical thing is I think there’s an understanding in Washington, certainly in Jerusalem and quite a few other capitals in the world, that very forceful action has to be taken to make Iran stop. I think the future of peace in the world and of stability and security is at stake.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A majority in both houses of Congress have expressed a willingness to go along with the kind of petroleum sanctions you’ve outlined, but so far President Obama has not been willing to state that publicly. Has he given you an assurance that he’s willing to go for crippling sanctions?
NETANYAHU: Well, what the United States has said is that they’re determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. And I think that’s an important statement. Look, I’ve been talking about this for 14 years. When I was first elected prime minister – the first time, 14 years (ago) – I was given the opportunity to address both sessions of Congress. And I said at that time that the single greatest threat to mankind is Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons. And a lot of eyebrows were raised 14 years ago. They’re not raised now. And I think the President of the United States, the government of the United States has seized of the situation. There’re several ways that this can be blocked. Crippling sanctions on petroleum import. And we find petroleum import is one of them. There are others.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How much time do we have? I mean U.S. military officials went before the Congress this week and said that they expect that Iran will have the materials to develop one nuclear weapon in about a year. And probably be actually able to develop the actual weapons in two to five years. Is that your assessment as well?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I’m not gonna get into concrete assessments. I will say that we have a lot less time with each day that passes. And the crucial thing is to use the time available for forceful international action led by the United States. If you can go through the Security Council. If you can’t, go outside the Security Council. But there are several ways to stop this. And if the international community led by the United States or a community of nations, concerned nations, led by the United States, is seriously determined to stop it, this can be stopped.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know it is the policy of Israel to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but what is the specific line they can’t cross? If they move up to the line of making a weapon, they have the weapons material but don’t construct it, don’t put it together, is that something Israel can live with?
NETANYAHU: Well, I’m not gonna get into those details. I think everybody understands a nuclear program when they see it. We see it in the making. Everybody understands that if Iran is not stopped. But go ahead and make nuclear bombs which will make a terrorist regime. You know, it’ll really put the greatest danger in front of us. That the world’s most dangerous regimes – with the world’s most dangerous terrorist proxies – could acquire the world’s most dangerous weapons. That’s something that should be stopped. We shouldn’t parse it out and begin to, you know, to parse it out into splitting hairs. We understand what they’re doing. They understand that we understand what they’re doing. And it’s up to the leading nations of the world, of course with the leadership of the United States, to stop it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But it’s fair to say that Israel will not permit, in your view, on your watch, Iran to get a nuclear weapon?
NETANYAHU: Our preference is that the international community, led by the United States, stop this nuclear weapons program. Having said that, I would say that, you know, we’re in the eve of Israel’s Independence Day. And the fortunes of the Jewish people were such that we could never defend ourselves until we re-establish the Jewish state. We paid a horrible price in the Holocaust and before the Holocaust. And of course there is a Jewish state now that always reserves the right to defend the Jewish nation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Ahmadinejad as you know is convening his own nuclear conference in Iran this weekend. At the conference he called Israel a microbe on the verge of collapse. I think that’s one translation of his words. And one of the points he’s been making is that Israel is being hypocritical. They’ve developed their own nuclear program. He said many times he believes Israel has nuclear weapons. Why not call his bluff and sign the non-proliferation treaty and abide by the non-proliferation treaty?
NETANYAHU: Well, we have a long standing policy and we’re not about to change it. But let me tell you this. People sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the NPT. That doesn’t guarantee anything. You know who signed it? Iraq under Saddam Hussein when they build the Osirack nuclear reactor. They violated it even though they were signatories.
Libya that had a secret nuclear program. They were signatories to the NPT even though they violated it. In fact Syria (who) recently was building a reactor, a secret reactor in violation of the NPT, they were signatories to the NPT. And Iran itself, that is violating left and right the NPT and even taking people into guided tours of the centrifuge holes, it’s a signatory to the NPT. So that doesn’t really help you. You know, if the world changes, if the, you know, if the Middle East one day advances to a messianic age where the lion lie down with the lambs, then you can ask me this question again, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no time soon will Israel sign the NPT?
NETANYAHU: No, we will not change our policies. I wanna make it clear. Those people, those states who have signed the NPT have violated it left and right. And the problem in the Middle East is not this or that treaty or these or that signatories. The problem is those regimes that call directly for Israel’s destruction are developing atomic weapons, weapons of mass death, to achieve that destruction. And so it’s not whether we sign or whether they sign and are signatories to it. It’s how do we prevent these people, these states, these regimes, these leaders like Ahmadinejad, from acquiring nuclear weapons. That’s the main focus of the international community. And that certainly is – should be the focus of – everyone concerned with peace and security.
President Peres on Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s wars (18 Apr 2010):
There are still those who wish to annihilate us. And at their head, the autocratic Iranian regime that seeks to cast its rule over the Middle East, silence it with lethal weapons, and launch an anti-Israel incitement campaign to deflect Arab concerns.
On no account must we disregard these threats. Nor should our enemies belittle our capabilities.
A threat to the peace of the Jewish people always carries the danger of turning into a threat to the civilized world as a whole. To its well-being and values.
We shall stand fast according to our tradition – until the enlightened world wakes up to the danger it is facing. A challenge to it, no less than to us.
Amb Shalev addresses the UN Security Council (14 Apr 2010):
Let me turn to the greatest danger facing the Middle East and the world: Iran.
Iran continues to threaten to wipe Israel off the map of the world while denying the Holocaust, reigniting anti-Semitism. At the same time Iran supports terrorism and violence against Israel and Jews, far beyond the Gaza Strip.
In Lebanon, Hizbullah terrorist organization continues to amass arms from Syria and from its Iranian patrons, with the active consent and support of Syrian authorities. Recently, Syria supplied Hizbullah with long range missiles, in an overt violation of resolution 1701. By doing so, Syria actively threatens the fragile stability in the Middle East.
Yet, the most alarming danger is that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities, while mocking the diplomatic overtures of the international community. Such behavior endangers not only our region, nor merely a specific group of countries. It endangers us all, and is recognized by all. Therefore, this Council has an obligation to translate this consensus into timely and effective action. To use the words of a great poet: "… If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly…"
The Iranian nuclear threat, the menace of terrorism, the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups, the incitement and hatred taught to Arab children – these are the true dangers facing the situation in the Middle East and the Question of Palestine.
FM Liberman meets with Romanian leaders (14 Apr 2010):
FM Liberman said that we have reached the last opportunity to decide on strong sanctions against Iran so that they will be effective and the Iranian regime will not pose a threat to stability in the Middle East and the entire world. The Foreign Minister noted that significant sanctions imposed by the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada would be effective, but he is not optimistic that this will take place in the near future. Once Iran achieves nuclear weapons, it will be a totally different game. In any case, FM Liberman said, Israel is a strong state and will know how to defend itself.
President Peres at meeting with French FM Fillon (13 Apr 2010):
"As Jews who experienced the Holocaust, the people of Israel cannot remain indifferent to Iran’s desire to develop nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a fascist government like Iran present a tangible threat to global peace. If Hitler had nuclear weapons we would not sit here today. I stand by President Obama, President Sarkozy, and other European leaders in the fight against Iran’s nuclear ambitions."
President Peres on Holocaust Remembrance Day (11 Apr 2010):
The ears of the UN have to be attuned to the threats of extermination uttered by one member country against another member country, for otherwise, the basis of the UN charter will be eroded. In order to achieve clear skies over the Middle East, one first has to dismantle the threats of annihilation. Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of those capable of mass destruction, with voices encouraging that destruction – that is the most perilous combination to world peace. They turn the world into a place which is out of control.
A part of the Iranian people itself is ashamed and embarrassed by the tyranny that has overtaken it. The Arab states are aware that the anti-Israel incitement of Ahmedinejad is designed to camouflage his real goal, which is Iranian hegemony over the whole area.
World War II broke out to the accompaniment of the satanic incitement of the Nazis, and the claim that the Germans are the superior race and "Deutschland uber Alles". There must be no return to the monstrous attitude that there is a superior person, a superior regime or a superior race that may do exactly as it pleases.
PM Netanyahu on Holocaust Remembrance Day (11 Apr 2010):
The historic failure of the free societies when faced with the Nazi animal was that they did not stand up against it in time, while there was still a chance to stop it. And here we are today again witnesses to the fire of the new-old hatred, the hatred of the Jews, that is expressed by organizations and regimes associated with radical Islam, headed by Iran and its proxies.
Iran’s leaders race to develop nuclear weapons and they openly state their desire to destroy Israel. But in the face of these repeated statements to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth, in the best case we hear a weak protest which is also fading away.
The required firm protest is not heard – not a sharp condemnation, not a cry of warning. The world continues on as usual and there are even those who direct their criticism at us, against Israel.
Today, 65 years after the Holocaust, we must say in all honesty that what is so upsetting is the lack of any kind of opposition. The world gradually accepts Iran’s statements of destruction against Israel and we still do not see the necessary international determination to stop Iran from arming itself.
But if we learned anything from the lessons of the Holocaust it is that we must not remain silent and be deterred in the face of evil. I call on all enlightened countries to rise up and forcefully and firmly condemn Iran’s destructive intentions and to act with genuine determination to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Deputy FM Ayalon on the Nuclear Security Summit (11 Apr 2010):
"Israel values the summit on preventing nuclear proliferation. However, the summit should not just discuss preventing terrorist organizations from acquiring nuclear weapons but also rogue and terrorist states, like Iran. It is important to stop Iran now as time is running out, we can measure it in days and weeks."