Netanyahu as Israel’s new leader – conciliatory words for Arab World except for Iran

March 31, 2009

“if Obama does not stop Iran’s nuclear program, Israel most certainly will”

(ChattahBox) — Benjamin Netanyahu, taking office as Israel’s new Prime Minister Tuesday, struck a somewhat conciliatory tone promised to seek “full peace” with the Arab and Muslim world, in an address to Parliament, promising negotiations toward a permanent accord with the Palestinians.

“We do not want to exercise our power over the Palestinians,” he said. “Under the final settlement, the Palestinians will have all the rights to govern themselves except those that endanger the security and existence of the state of Israel.”

Netanyahu, the leader of the hawkish Likud Party, stopped short of endorsing a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a potential point of friction with the United States.

Netanyahu praised Islamic culture as “great and rich,” and said Israel and moderate Arab states could find common ground fighting radical Islam and what he called the extremist regime in Tehran.

Netanyahu praised Islamic culture as “great and rich,” and said Israel and moderate Arab states could find common ground fighting radical Islam and what he called the extremist regime in Tehran.  He went further to say Iran is Israel’s biggest threat and urged the world to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

“The greatest danger to humanity, and to our country Israel, stems from the possibility of a radical regime arming itself with nuclear weapons,” he said. “We shall not allow anybody or any country to put any question mark over our existence.”

In an exclusive interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg Tuesday, just before he was sworn in  Netanyahu didn’t mince his words: if Obama does not stop Iran’s nuclear program, Israel most certainly will.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu said he would support President Obama’s decision to engage Iran, so long as negotiations brought about a quick end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it,” he said, but he added that he was skeptical that Iran would respond positively to Obama’s appeals.

In unusually blunt language, Netanyahu said of the Iranian leadership, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”


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One Response to “Netanyahu as Israel’s new leader – conciliatory words for Arab World except for Iran”

  1. Topics about Culture » Netanyahu as Israel’s new leader - conciliatory words for Arab World… on March 31st, 2009 10:58 pm

    […] Five Before Midnight added an interesting post today on Netanyahu as Israelâ […]

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