Tag Archives: netanyahu

‘All options,’ even military ones, on table to push Israel out of Golan

Syria will do whatever it takes to take back the occupied Golan Heights from the Israeli regime, says a high-ranking official.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad made the announcement on Sunday, in response to remarks made earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who claimed “the Golan Heights will remain in the hands of Israel forever,” during the regime’s first cabinet meeting in the occupied territory.

Noting that the occupied region belongs to Syria according to international law, Mekdad stressed that the Arab Syrian Golan Heights will be taken back from the Israelis.

“All options are on the table for getting back the occupied territory from Israel,” he said during an interview aired on the Lebanese television channel al-Mayadeen.

“We are prepared to do anything in order to return the Golan to the Syrian motherland, including using military force,” Mekdad asserted.

During the Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also demanded that the international community recognize Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory. He said, “Whatever happens on the other side of the border, the border itself will not move. Secondly, after 50 years it is time that the international community realized that the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 six-day war and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

The regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

Netanyahu also said that some 50,000 Israelis currently live there and “thousands of families… are supposed to join them in the coming years.”

Opposition against Assad’s role in Syria

The Israeli premier made the remarks amid a ceasefire in Syria and UN-backed talks being held in Geneva aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

The Saudi-backed opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has threatened to leave the current round of talks unless progress is made over demands for a political transition without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We might suspend (our participation in) the talks if things carry on this way, and then there will be no prospect for any political solution,” said HNC member Abdulhakim Bashar.

Another unnamed HNC member noted that the talks had reached “an impasse” and are at risk of “failing.”

Before the talks kicked off, Mekdad rejected the “dream” of a transitional government without Assad, saying that such ideas are nothing short of a “coup d’etat.”

The last round of the talks came to a halt on March 24 over disagreements on the role of President Assad in Syria’s future.

The ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect on February 27 across Syria. The truce agreement does not apply to Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injuring 1.9 million others, and displacing nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/04/17/461278/syria-golan-heights-mekdad-bibi/

Israel believes it could carry out strikes on Iran with under 500 civilian fatalities

Israel believes it could carry out strikes on Iran with under 500 civilian fatalities

By Adrian Blomfield,

Ehud Barak raised the prospect of military action with Iran once again as he hinted that splits in the international community over imposing sanctions regarded as crippling enough by Israel could leave the Jewish state with no option but to take matters into its own hands.

The warning came as a report by UN weapons inspectors into Iran’s nuclear activities was made public, concluding that the Islamist regime is closer to building an atom bomb than ever before.

Mr Barak conceded that the price of air strikes against Iran would be high, with Iran retaliating by firing long-range missiles at Israeli cities and encouraging its allies Hizbollah and Hamas to unleash their vast rocket arsenals at the country.

But he insisted that claims of huge destruction in Israel were overblown and that the country could survive the retaliation.

“There is no way to prevent some damage,” he said. “It will not be pleasant. There is no scenario for 50,000 dead, or 5,000 killed – and if everyone stays in their homes, maybe not even 500 dead.”

Mr Barak said the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report represents “the final opportunity” for the United Nations Security Council to punish Iran with sanctions of sufficient severity to force Iran into abandoning its nuclear ambitions.

Demanding that the international community finally take action to target Tehran’s vital energy sector, he called for a naval blockade to prevent Iran exploiting oil.

Although such a measure would undoubtedly do serious harm to Iran’s energy-dependent economy, even the United States is said to be concerned about the impact it would have on oil prices at a time of heightened vulnerability for the world economy.

Mr Barak predicted that opposition by Russia and China would make it impossible to achieve consensus in the Security Council for such sanctions, leaving military action increasingly as the only option.

“I don’t think it will be possible to form such a coalition,”
he told Israeli radio.

“As long as no such sanctions have been imposed and proven effective, we continue to recommend to our friends in the world and to ourselves not to take any action off the table.”

Mr Barak’s comments crown a week of increasingly bellicose language in Israel that is widely seen as more an attempt to force the United Nations Security Council into using the toughest possible sanctions against Iran rather than presaging imminent military action.

Even so, his rhetoric will cause alarm, with Russia and even some European states warning against the folly of unilateral Israeli action.

Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said on Tuesday that though concerns remained high about Iran’s nuclear programme, “we have to do everything we can to avoid the irreparable damage that military action would cause”.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, said a military strike on Iran could be a “catastrophe” for the Middle East.

“We should exhale, calm down and continue a constructive discussion of all issues on the Middle East agenda, including the Iranian nuclear program,” said Mr Medvedev, a day after an Asian security summit in St Petersburg that included Iran.

US officials said they hoped the IAEA report would increase leverage for tougher sanctions, rather than short term pressure for air strikes.

The “war camp” in the Israeli cabinet is believed to be in a minority that is championed primarily by Mr Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister.

But many Israeli politicians will agree with the defence minister’s assertion that the IAEA report represents “the last opportunity for coordinated, lethal sanctions that will force Iran to stop”.

Israel believes that Iran is intent on moving the bulk of its nuclear production underground within months, after which it will be harder than ever to launch effective military action.

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Mutually Assured Destruction

Will the President and the Congress Send a Message to Turkey and Egypt That An Attack Upon Israel Will Be Viewed As An Attack Upon the U.S.?

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By Ed Koch

Israel is now surrounded by Arab and other Muslim nations who believe this is the moment when they can finally destroy the Jewish state. They tried and failed to conquer Israel in five different wars since 1948. They are still trying.

Since the “Arab Spring” revolts in the Arab heartland of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, opinion-makers in the Western world have sought to glamorize those revolutions by comparing them to those by which eastern European countries freed themselves from Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviet Union.

So when the uprisings took place against the existing repressive Arab governments, the media labeled the various revolutions the “Arab Spring.” That title was intended to convey that finally, the Arabs, heretofore stuck in medieval times, had come out of those dark ages and were now to be applauded and welcomed to the western world.

Some observers, including myself, have voiced great concern about the blind support in the west, particularly in our government, for the Arab revolutionary movements everywhere. In my view, it was harmful to our own – the U.S. – national security needs to throw the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak under the bus by demanding his removal as President Obama did. Yes, he was a despot, described as an authoritarian in a world of Muslim dictatorships, but he believed in keeping good relations with the U.S. and keeping the peace with Israel established back in 1978 by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at Camp David. Those who overthrew him have made clear that their intention is to end that peace. The forces that are dominant in Egypt today are the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The goal of the military is to preserve their special niche as the principal governing power. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions are the strongest politically and most organized of all the civilian groups vying for power in the next presidential election.

As a result of the recent occupation and sacking of the Israeli embassy in Cairo while Egyptian police and army stood by, we know that the current interim Egyptian government has decided to cast aside peace with Israel and go with the Islamists. The Times of September 11th reported, “Egyptian military and security police officers largely stood by without interfering with the demolition. Instead, they clustered at the entrance to the embassy to keep protesters out. The security forces had pulled back from Tahrir Square and other areas before the start of the day to avoid clashes with the protesters, although the military had issued a stern warning on its Facebook page against property destruction.” The Israeli ambassador, his family and other Israeli officials were forced to flee the embassy in fear of their lives. Because of the entreaties of President Obama to the Egyptian government, they were saved from violence and permitted to board Israeli jets to go home to Israel.

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And what of the situation with Turkey? Once a friend of Israel, it now has an Islamist government led by its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has issued a statement tantamount to a declaration of war. The Times reported on September 10th, “The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding a Gaza-bound ship as they did last year, killing nine passengers, and from letting Israel exploit natural gas resources at sea.”

While the United Nations, not normally a defender of Israel, recently issued a report that Israel had a right to blockade Gaza so as to prevent weapons from being brought into the Gaza Strip, now governed by Hamas, Turkey has rejected the report, and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Hamas has declared that it is at war with Israel, and that if it is ever in a position to do so, it will expel every Jew living in Israel who came to Palestine after 1917, and will use violence to achieve its goals. It has intentionally killed innocent civilians, sending thousands of rockets into southern Israel or allowing other terrorist groups to do so.

In addition to Hamas on its southern border, Israel is now facing an increasingly hostile Egypt, with an army of nearly one million and a population of 81 million. To Israel’s north is not only hostile Lebanon and Syria, but now Turkey with an army of one million and a population of 73 million.

It is also disturbing that there is a rising tide of Jew-hatred in Great Britain and in France. In Great Britain, that hatred was recently demonstrated by those who called themselves artists, who disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta in London on September 1st. The police arrested no one who for a time prevented the audience of 5,000 from enjoying the evening. No speaker supporting Israel is permitted to speak at British universities. They are not invited or hooted down if invited.

France is working with the Palestinians to achieve their admission to the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s only apparent defender on the European continent is Germany because of the continuous ongoing support of Israel by Chancellor Angela Merkel. I met and heard Chancellor Merkel in 2004 when I attended in Berlin the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on rising anti-Semitism, when I served as chairman of the U.S. delegation. I was impressed by the depths of her sincerity in denouncing anti-Semitism and recognizing the depravity of the German nation under Hitler in its efforts to exterminate world Jewry.

The Muslim nations are undoubtedly licking their chops at what they would do if they were ever to be successful in defeating Israel on the battlefield or at the U.N. which is prepared to serve as the site of today’s Munich. If Assad of Syria is willing to kill innocent men, women and children in the streets and cities in Syria, what do you think he would do if his soldiers patrolled Tel Aviv?

The Arab countries’ threats to destroy Israel, a nation with a total population of 7.7 million, including 1.2 million Muslims, is not receiving front page coverage or denunciations from NATO nation leaders. The revolutionaries making up the “Arab Spring” are lauded by the opinion-makers here in the U.S. and even more so in Europe.

This past Sunday, we commemorated in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania the deaths of more than 3,000 innocent civilians on 9/11, committed by Islamic terrorists whose supporters run into the millions and are now located in at least 62 countries. Our NATO allies never supported the U.S. to the extent they promised when we invaded Afghanistan to punish the Afghan government for providing a refuge for al-Qaeda, which perpetrated the 9/11 atrocities and many others. In my judgment, as harsh as it sounds, many of those NATO countries, including Britain and France, would deliver the Jewish nation into the hands of their putative murderers if it gave them “peace in our time,” just as Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. Are we willing here in the U.S. to continue to fight for our precious liberties and support countries like Israel having the same moral and cultural values?

We in America, led by President Obama and Congress, must make it absolutely clear to the Islamist terrorists that we will never surrender. We will hunt them down as we did their leader, Osama bin Laden, and kill them.

The U.S. is Israel’s only friend and ally. It is not foolish or premature to ask what will the U.S. do when and if the Muslim nations surrounding Israel, this time led by Egypt and Turkey, supported by others, assault the Jewish nation? Will the President and the Congress come to its aid? Shouldn’t Israel know now? Shouldn’t the Muslim nations know?

I urge the President and the Congress to do for Israel what President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. President Kennedy said “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

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