Friday, August 04, 2006

Netanyahu on the New Fascism

Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has given a 9-minute interview to Sky News in which he outlines the nature of the threat posed by Syria and Iran in the present Middle East conflict. He characterizes it as "the new fascism".

While the interview is fairly brief, somewhat confrontational, and at times ventures into what Netanyahu wryly describes as "soundbite land", it does provide a clear and succinct analysis of the current situation, and goes some way to counter the ceaseless claims and insinuations by Western media - especially the BBC - that it is Israel's intransigence that is responsible for the crisis.

Netanyahu sees the top priority for Israel as the destruction of Hizballah. On the subject of Israeli bombing of Lebanese cities, he points to the case of the Nazi V-2 rocketing of London and other British cities in 1944-45. Churchill's response was to flatten German cities - Dresden was annihilated. Israel's reponse to Hizaballah rocket attacks has been much more measured.

Hizballah would not last more than a day or two without the support of Syria and Iran, Netanyahu says - the Hizballah forces are trained in Iran. Hizballah is not a social welfare organization, but rather one dedicated to wiping Israel off the map.

Netanyahu points to the existence of two groups of what he calls "mad militants" - Al-Qaeda and Hizballah. The two groups are competing with one another for supremacy, but fighting each other is only a prelude to fighting the West.

There are two primary tasks: taking out Hizaballah's missile arsenal, and dealing with the "mother" problem of Iran. Iran's missiles can now reach London and even the United States, and if Iran acquires a nuclear capability, it will use it against those targets.

So it's important to engage Iran - put pressure on it to disarm, not by offering it "carrots", but by implementing sanctions should Iran not comply. The same goes for Iran's current use of proxies like Hizballah.

If there is a ceasefire now, that will be tantamount to "taking aspirin for cancer". The cancer must be removed, and only then can there be a cessation of the conflict.


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While Binyamin Netanyahu's interview may be somewhat schematic, it represents a type of conversation that's badly needed in Britain. As Melanie Phillips points out in her diary,

Israel is the defining moral issue of our time. Appallingly, Britain has put itself on the wrong side. The prejudice that now consumes what passes for public debate simply puts it beyond the moral pale. What is happening now in Britain is shocking beyond words.

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