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 Israeli MP predicts attack on Iran

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The Sameer

Number of posts : 125
Registration date : 2007-03-07

PostSubject: Israeli MP predicts attack on Iran   Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:54 pm


March 8, 2007 | By PAUL LUNGEN

Israeli Knesset member Effie Eitam has a reputation as a hawk, but on the question of Iran and its nuclear program, he believes he speaks for the country’s mainstream strategic thinkers.

Diplomatic and political manoeuvres to rein in the Islamic state are feckless and doomed to fail, leaving Israel, with or without the co-operation of the United States, no alternative but to use military force to put an end to the nuclear threat, he says.

“Israel is preparing and will definitely take action,” Eitam predicted. “We will not live under that shadow for our children and grandchildren. Israelis survived the Holocaust not to live under that threat again.”

Eitam delivered his sobering assessment of Israel’s strategic place in the Middle East prior to a public address last week at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue. He was speaking at a fundraiser in support of Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel, Beit Halochem Canada, a charity that provides rehabilitation, counselling and recreational services to wounded Israeli soldiers. Eitam said the charity is dear to him, as many of his military comrades benefit from its services.

Prior to visiting Toronto, Eitam was in Washington, where he met with U.S. senators and congressmen and spoke at four think tanks about the current Mideast situation. He also spoke last week in Montreal.

Eitam told The CJN that Israel may have to act alone against Iran within “a window” to two to three years, but he suggested Israel would move before Bush leaves office.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama, the leading Democratic presidential candidates, have the stomach to tackle Iran militarily, Eitam said, and he wasn’t sure how Republican contenders Rudy Giuliani and John McCain would act.

Eitam said a pre-emptive attack would be justified under the principle of self defence, and at any rate, Israel can’t afford to wait until Iran actually possesses a nuclear device.

He said that with American co-operation – Israeli planes would have to fly over Iraq en route to Iran – the mission would be a success. Israel would enjoy total air domination, would be able to avoid anti-aircraft defences and over time destroy the nuclear facilities.

He said Israel could handle Iranian retaliation, including Hezbollah missile attacks, especially after internal Israel Defence Forces reviews of the Lebanon war and the removal of senior IDF officers.

Eitam predicted the United States would support Israel’s attack – as would other democratic nations, including Canada. The alternative would mean “the genie was out of the bottle.”

What if a suitcase device was smuggled into Toronto and the Canadian government was threatened with a nuclear attack if it didn’t hand over $3 billion to terrorists? “Let’s see what the Canadian government would do then,” he said.

Faced with that sort of threat, many countries will support an Israeli strike against Iran, he said.

And if they don’t? “We are dealing with a nuclear weapon in the hands of Ahmadinejad, who’s already said the bomb is to deal with Israel. So who cares what the Europeans will say?”

As for the United States, Eitam said the rationale for going to war in Iraq – to stop a madman from acquiring weapons of mass destruction – applies exactly to Iran. “It would be a strategic tragedy if the United States stabilizes Iraq, but is so weakened by that operation that the credibility of the president is so low that they couldn’t strike Iran.”

Turning to the Palestinian front, Eitam dismissed the Mecca accord between Hamas and Fatah that created a unity government. “We should be realistic. The Mecca agreement is more false hope, another step of deception designed to save the Hamas government and end the sanctions.”

Eitam, a career military man who led a commando unit during the 1976 Entebbe rescue operation, left the IDF as a brigadier general in 2000 to join the National Religious Party. He split with that party over its support for the Gaza pullout and co-founding the Renewed Religious National Zionist Party.

He attracted controversy late last year when he called for the removal of most West Bank Palestinians and when he called Israeli Arabs a fifth column and traitors.

Eitam said Hamas had not given up any of its core principles, including its goal of destroying Israel.

“It’s not about territory. It’s not about recognition. They’re not interested in any state, and no land will satisfy them. They’re totally recruited by the Islamic revolution and are the spearhead of the Islamic revolution.”

Furthermore, Palestinian culture has deteriorated to such an extent that it is considered legitimate to indoctrinate suicide bombers from the age of six.

“It will take a long time – decades, maybe centuries – to bring Arabic and Islamic culture back to normalcy,” he said.

In the meantime, Israel must remain behind its security barrier, which has produced relative quiet. He predicted that over time, Palestinians’ daily lives would improve as they get an independent road system, roadblocks would disappear and commerce improve.

“It’s not paradise, but it’s a containment situation that in the end will bring more life, hope and respect between the two parties,” he said.
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