Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will

Ya’alon, a former army chief of staff who is slated to serve as Netanyahu’s minister for strategic threats, dismissed the possibility of a revitalized peace process, telling me that “jihadists” interpret compromise as weakness. He cited the reaction to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza four years ago. “The mistake of disengagement from Gaza was that we thought like Westerners, that compromise would defuse a problem—but it just encouraged the problem,” he said. “The jihadists saw withdrawal as a defeat of the West … Now, what do you signal to them if you are ready to divide Jerusalem, or if you’re ready to withdraw to the 1967 lines? In this kind of conflict, your ability to stand and be determined is more important than your firepower.”

216103127_f48d3d0e14_oAmerican administration sources tell me that President Obama won’t shy from pressuring Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue during his first visit to Washington as prime minister, which is scheduled for early May. But Netanyahu suggested that he and Obama already see eye-to-eye on such crucial issues as the threat posed by Hamas. “The Obama administration has recently said that Hamas has to first recognize Israel and cease the support of terror. That’s a very good definition. It says you have to cease being Hamas.”

When I noted that many in Washington doubt his commitment to curtailing Jewish settlement on the West Bank, he said, in reference to his previous term as prime minister, from 1996 to 1999, “I can only point to what I did as prime minister in the first round. I certainly didn’t build new settlements.”

Netanyahu will manage Israel’s relationship with Washington personally—his foreign minister,Avigdor Lieberman, of the anti-Arab Israel Beiteinu party, is deeply unpopular in Washington—and I asked him if he could foresee agreeing on a “grand bargain” with Obama, in which he would move forward on talks with the Palestinians in exchange for a robust American response to Iran’s nuclear program. He said: “We intend to move on the Palestinian track independent of what happens with Iran, and I hope the U.S. moves to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons regardless of what happens on the Palestinian track.”

In our conversation, Netanyahu gave his fullest public explication yet of why he believes President Obama must consider Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be his preeminent overseas challenge. “Why is this a hinge of history? Several bad results would emanate from this single development. First, Iran’s militant proxies would be able to fire rockets and engage in other terror activities while enjoying a nuclear umbrella. This raises the stakes of any confrontation that they’d force on Israel. Instead of being a local event, however painful, it becomes a global one. Second, this development would embolden Islamic militants far and wide, on many continents, who would believe that this is a providential sign, that this fanaticism is on the ultimate road to triumph.

“Third, they would be able to pose a real and credible threat to the supply of oil, to the overwhelming part of the world’s oil supply. Fourth, they may threaten to use these weapons or to give them to terrorist proxies of their own, or fabricate terror proxies. Finally, you’d create a great sea change in the balance of power in our area—nearly all the Arab regimes are dead-set opposed to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. They fervently hope, even if they don’t say it, that the U.S. will act to prevent this, that it will use its political, economic, and, if necessary, military power to prevent this from happening.”

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Netanyahu asserted, Washington’s Arab allies would drift into Iran’s orbit. “The only way I can explain what will happen to such regimes is to give you an example from the past of what happened to one staunch ally of the United States, and a great champion of peace, when another aggressive power loomed large. I’m referring to the late King Hussein [of Jordan] … who was an unequalled champion of peace. The same King Hussein in many ways subordinated his country to Saddam Hussein when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. Saddam seemed all-powerful, unchallenged by the United States, and until the U.S. extracted Kuwait from Saddam’s gullet, King Hussein was very much in Iraq’s orbit. The minute that changed, the minute Saddam was defeated, King Hussein came back to the Western camp.”

One of Iran’s goals, Netanyahu said, is to convince the moderate Arab countries not to enter peace treaties with Israel. Finally, he said, several countries in Iran’s neighborhood might try to develop nuclear weapons of their own. “Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The Middle East is incendiary enough, but with a nuclear arms race it will become a tinderbox,” he said.

Few in Netanyahu’s inner circle believe that Iran has any short-term plans to drop a nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv, should it find a means to deliver it. The first-stage Iranian goal, in the understanding of Netanyahu and his advisers, is to frighten Israel’s most talented citizens into leaving their country.  “The idea is to keep attacking the Israelis on a daily basis, to weaken the willingness of the Jewish people to hold on to their homeland,” Moshe Ya’alon said. “The idea is to make a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for Jews unattractive for them. They are waging a war of attrition.”

The Israeli threat to strike Iran militarily if the West fails to stop the nuclear program may, of course, be a tremendous bluff. After all, such threats may just be aimed at motivating President Obama and others to grapple urgently with the problem. But Netanyahu and his advisers seem to believe sincerely that Israel would have difficulty surviving in a Middle East dominated by a nuclear Iran. And they are men predisposed to action; many, like Netanyahu, are former commandos.

As I waited in the Knesset cafeteria to see Netanyahu, I opened a book he edited of his late brother’s letters. Yoni Netanyahu, a commando leader, was killed in 1976 during the Israeli raid on Entebbe, and his family organized his letters in a book they titled Self-Portrait of a Hero. In one letter, Yoni wrote to his teenage brother, then living in America, who had apparently been in a fight after someone directed an anti-Semitic remark at him. “I see … that you had to release the surplus energy you stored up during the summer,” Yoni wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s too bad you sprained a finger in the process. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a good fist fight; on the contrary, if you’re young and you’re not seriously hurt, it won’t do you real harm. Remember what I told you? He who delivers the first blow, wins.”

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Islamic Leadership in an Islamic Government (Waly al-Faqih)

Conditions of Leadership

By: Imam Khomeini

The conditions that a leader must have directly stem from the nature of the Islamic government. After general conditions, such as sanity, there are two foundational conditions which are:

  1. Knowledge of the law.
  2. Justice.

When differences arose after the Noble Prophet (s) as to who would take on the responsibility of the caliphate there was no difference of opinion in whether the future leader must have merits. The only difference was in regards to which person had those merits.

Since the Islamic government is a government of laws it is necessary for the leader to know what those laws are – as has been mentioned in traditions. It is not only necessary for the leader to have this knowledge but anyone who has some sort of position must have this knowledge as well. But, the leader must have the most knowledge. Our imams used this to reason for their imamate – they would say that an imam must be better than the rest of the people. The criticisms that Shia scholars give are also in this regard where they say that so and so asked the ruling from the caliph who was unable to answer him and therefore the caliph is not suitable for caliphate. They also say that the caliph performed such and such action that was in opposition to Islamic law and therefore he is not suitable for caliphate.

Knowing the law and being just are foundational pillars for Muslims. Nothing else has as much importance, for instance knowledge about the angels, knowledge about the attributes of Allah, none of these matter in the issue of imamate. If one has knowledge about all fields of science and has discovered all of the laws of nature or is an amazing musician he will not become more suitable for leading an Islamic government than one who has knowledge about the law and is just. That which is related to caliphate and that which was discussed in the age of the Prophet (s) and the imams (a) and that which is certain amongst the Muslims is that the leader or the caliph must know Islamic laws and must be just in theological and ethical matters. Intellect denotes this as well because and Islamic government is a government of law – not a free-flowing government or a government clinging to the whims of an individual. If the leader does not know the law he is not suitable for leadership because if he follows someone the strength of the government would be broken and if he does not follow someone he would not be able to implement the law. The tradition: “Jurists rule over sultans” is certain. If sultans followed Islam they would have to follow jurists – they would have to ask the jurists what the law would be in various cases and how to implement it. In this case the real leaders are the jurists and that is why they must officially take control of the government and not give it to someone who is forced to follow them because they are ignorant of the law.

Of course, it is not necessary for general workers to know all Islamic laws and become jurists. Rather, it is enough for them to know the laws that are in relation to their work; it is enough to know their duties.

This was the case in the time of the Prophet (s) and the Commander of the Faithful (a). The leader must have these two merits, but their representatives and other workers who are sent to other lands must know the laws that are in relation to their work.

A leader must be perfect in theological beliefs and ethics. He must be just. He must not be polluted by sin. A person who wants to implement divine punishments in their correct places; a person who wants to take control of the public treasury; a person who Allah gives power over his servants must not sin. “My pledge does not reach the oppressors.”

If a leader is not just he would not act just in giving Muslims their rights, obtaining taxes, spending the money obtained from taxes correctly, and implementing divine punishments. It is possible that he would place those close to him over the society and spend the public treasury to his own benefit. (Walayat al-Faqih, p.58-61)

The door of ijtehad must always be open in an Islamic government. The nature of a revolution and a government dictates that ijtehadi opinions must be freely given – even if they oppose one another. Nobody should have the right to prevent this. But, what is important is correctly understanding governance and the society in which, according to them, the Islamic system can make plans for the benefit of Muslims. It is here that the term ijtehad used in the Islamic seminary is not enough, rather if a person is the most knowledgeable in regards to the sciences taught in the Islamic seminary but is unable to recognize what is in the best interest of the society or is unable to recognize righteous people from non-righteous people he would not have a political vision and would not have the ability to make correct decisions. This person is not a mujtahid in social or government matters and cannot become the leader of the society. (Sahifah Nur, v.21, p.47, 1988, Tehran)

Dear Shaykh Ali Mishkini:

After greetings, you wanted my viewpoint in regards to the constitution. Whatever the people in charge thought was correct act in accordance to it. I will not intervene – except in the matter of leadership. We cannot leave our Islamic country without a leader. We must choose someone who will defend the honor of Islam in the political world.

At the beginning I believed and insisted that the condition of being a marja’ is not necessary. A just mujtahid who is confirmed by the Khobregan and is respected throughout the country is enough. If the people vote for the Khobregan so that they determine which just mujtahid is suitable for leadership then his acceptance is the acceptance of the people. In this case he will be chosen by the people and his governance will be established.

I said this in regards to the constitution, but our friends insisted on the condition of being a marja’ and because of that I accepted. I knew at that time that this will not be applicable in the near future. (Sahifah, v.21, p.129, 1989, Tehran)

Islam Times

Imam Khomeini’s Spouse Passes Away

Khadije Saqafi, the wife of the late Founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini passed away at the age of 93 after a long period of illness.
Islam Times would like to pass its condolences to all of the believers, free thinkers, oppressed, lovers of Iran, and lovers of Imam Khomeini on the death of this pure spirit.

She will be buried today and there will be a majlis for her held by Ayatollah Khamenei.

Please recite a Fatiha for her.

Islam Times

Iran asks for the nullification of the veto

The aide to the permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations asked that the veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council be nullified.

Ishaq Ale Habib, the aide to the permanent representative of Iran in the United Nations, in a general assembly, stating that this merit (veto) divided countries into those who have it and those who don’t, added: “This merit is unjust and has caused those countries who have the power of the veto to force the Security Council to make decisions in their own benefit.”

The subject of the general assembly was improvement of the Security Council. This subject started one month ago and the issue of the power of veto has been discussed by representatives of numerous countries.

Habib said: “60 years has passed since this issue (the power of veto being given to certain countries after the Second World War) and fundamental changes have been made in the international community. The continuance of this merit is unjust and cannot be borne. Therefore, the biggest improvement should be the complete nullification of the veto.”

Islam Times

The purposes of the Riyadh Meeting

The movements of the Saudi Arabian government after the Gaza War, where the Zionist army was defeated, are trying to show that this victory was accomplished by the political efforts of Saudi Arabia and Egypt – enabling the resistance to succeed.

In the last few weeks a few Saudi Arabian officials have travelled to Damascus just as a number of Egyptian have as well. Jordan, by sending an official letter and a political representative, wanted to join forces with them. A few meetings took place chaired by King Abdullah and attended by some Arab heads of state, including the Syrian president. The latest meeting was last Wednesday in Riyadh where King Abdullah, the kind of Saudi Arabia, Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabbah, the prince of Kuwait, and Bashar Asad, the president of Syria attended.

The Saudi king announced in an economical meeting of the heads of Arab states held in Kuwait the day after the Gaza War ended: “Now the time to bury the differences of Arabs has come.” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister took a step further and said in an interview: “The Kuwait Summit buried the differences of Arabs.” The Syrian president rejected this. Bashar Asad, in an interview with the Emirate newspaper Dar al-Khaleej, said: “We are now trying to make up and we cannot confirm that we do not have any differences with each other.”

Immediately after the meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, Hosni Mubarak met with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman. The head of Mubarak’s office stated that it was a continuation of the Riyadh meeting. Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the League of Arab States, entered Damascus. It has been decided that there will be another meeting of Arab leaders in Qatar in the next few weeks.

This shows the unified activities of Riyadh, Amman, and Cairo around one foundational axis. Everyone knows that the Islamic resistance in the region is the biggest problem for the three Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan) and also the biggest problem for the Zionist regime, America, and the west. Since Syria has a strategic relationship with Iran and the resistances in Lebanon and Palestine, it has been given great importance by this group. American and Arab groups have clearly mentioned the possibility of separating Syria from Iran and the resistance and the possibility of establishing two states – Palestine and Israel – in the occupied territories if peace between Syria and Israel is accomplished. The political organization Khawar, close to Washington, announced in the Christian Science Monitor in regards to a conclusion about the political changes in the Middle East that America, through Saudi Arabia, will try its best to put Syria in line with American policies which would necessitate it distancing itself from Iran. This American publication clearly stated that the reason that Israel lost in its war against Palestine was because the Saudi Arabian-Egyptian pole has become weak.

The meetings and talks amongst the four countries (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria) and the multiple travels of political figures to and from these countries must bee looked at with precision. The reason for this is that the resistance in the Middle East depends on the strength of Iran and Syria. Any weakness will have foundational consequences in the Middle East. In order to look into this subject, it must be said that:

1. Syria has been struggling since 1967, when the Golan Heights and Jabal Sheikh were occupied by the Zionist regime. These two places were not only strategic and economical, but they were considered a sign of the existence of the government in Damascus. Now, Syria sees an international opportunity and wants to test what would happen by claiming the loss of Golan and Jabal Sheikh. The victory of the resistance in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon increases the world’s need of Syria in the eyes of Bashar. From another angle, Bashar Asad sees the dead-end that the meetings between Arab and Israeli figures in regards to the two-state solution have reached as another opportunity for Syria. The Syrian government does not give clear answers in regards to the questions about whether or not they are ready to change their relationship with the resistance or not. But, they emphasize that the peace process is not possible without the powers of the region – Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine – participating in it.

2. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are holding talks with Syria in order to weaken Iran and the Arab resistance in the region. They believe that if they tempt Syria with financial benefits and the return of the strategic Golan Heights then the chain of resistance in the region will be broken and the ancient Arab movement called nationalism will replace Islam. They believe that nationalism will be enlivened and honor will be returned to these two countries. Some time ago the president of Egypt in a public address stated: “Iran is stealing the Middle East and we cannot remain silent.” If he was more precise he would have stated that Islam has taken over the Middle East and that he must find a way to take control back. At the same time it must be said that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have an internal fight as well. Egyptians consider themselves the leaders of the Arab world while Saudi Arabia believes that their status has fallen in the last thirty years.

3. Jordan and Kuwait are playing a supportive role in this movement. They are not that important. But, the presence of Kuwait emphasized the principle role of Saudi Arabia and the presence of Jordan emphasizes the principle role of Egypt. King Abdullah of Jordan and Sheikh Ahmad Sabbah of Kuwait state that they benefits of their countries are in this movement. Jordan expects Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to save it from the economical fall that it is facing along with the whole world.

4. Saudi Arabia and Egypt face many problems in these talks. One of the problems is that they want Syria to trade the relationship that it has with the resistance, which is its strongest point of honor, for a promise to give back the Golan Heights. Bashar, even though he is young, knows well that political talks and promises from Arab governments have never given results. Because of this the president of Syria states that there are differences between the contracts of peace and real peace.

5. America, after the 22-Day-War against Gaza emphasized that Israel cannot fight and must improve their conditions through diplomacy. It seems far-fetched that America is hopeful that Syria will weaken their relation with Iran and the resistance. They believe that they can make Syria change a little bit and make them think about their relationship with Iran and with America. They believe that with this the progress of Islam in the Middle East will be thwarted and the possibility of American management over the region will increase. But, this issue is just American brainstorming.

6. Another side of this issue is the Zionist regime. This regime is in a very weak state right now and does not have the ability to discuss the issue of Golan. If they debate this topic, as Bashar says, they are not ready to agree to anything. The Zionist regime believes in its internal strength and if they give back Golan Heights they will loose their existence – just as retreating from Gaza four years ago caused them to loose their security. In these conditions it is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia could promise anything more than financial benefits to Syria. Because of this the president of Syria stated, knocking down Saudi Arabia and Egypt: “Peace treaties are nothing more than a piece of paper. But the reality is that 500 thousand Palestinians are in Syria. They must return to their homes and Golan must be given back to Syria. Until this happens there will be no changes.”

Islam Times

The Facade Of Sectarianism

‘Sectarian’ clashes in the second-most holiest site in Islam can only serve to achieve one forbidding outcome. The sight of bloodshed and hostilities in the near vicinities of this sacred site is tantamount to sacrilege in the hearts and minds of Muslims all across the globe. News of four deaths and several more critically injured in the aftermath of the recent clashes in Medina will have no doubt turned memories back to the 1987 massacre in the holy city of Makka during the annual Hajj. Despite the seemingly subsiding intensity of these clashes however, it is paramount to underline the lingering nature of its outcomes just as was the case following the massacre – which will remain to influence and shape policies vis-à-vis segments of Saudi society, and wider regional relations.

hajj-people

In order to come to terms with the motives for the recent clashes in Medina, it is crucial to highlight the ongoing geopolitical shifts in the wider region. The Middle East today stands at a unique crossroads; its peoples are witnessing the displacement of age-old power structures that have been the symbol of this region for decades. Naturally, the ‘old-guard’ is pitted against the forces of change, with dear life stuck between their teeth. As loyal and attentive students of history will no doubt attest to, power holds an incredible capacity to corrupt. An even more real but no less frightening concomitant of power lies in its longing for eternalness.

The distressing events in Medina over the last few days are not sectarian clashes, yet the principle motive of its agitators is to utilize these events to heighten regional sectarian tensions. Faced with a climate of growing Islamic solidarity and imperialist rejection, these provocateurs are placing their last hopes in heightened sectarianism to secure their loosening-grip on power. The process of awakening amongst the Arab masses throughout the Middle East is alarming the oil-sheikhdoms, and at their helm the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh and Cairo once stood tall as the nerve centres of the Middle East from where regional agendas, carefully calibrated in line with US imperialist interests, were set. Times have changed. Today, the simmering revolution in Egypt is being restrained thanks only to the firing guns of an ailing Mubarak. Saudi Arabia, which proudly lauded itself as the counter-balance to Iran can no longer maintain a steady footing, and finds itself replaced by a far more pragmatic and conciliatory, Qatar. Arguably, the final nails in the coffins of these historical ‘powerhouses’ have also been hammered down by the growing role that is being played out by a Turkey that is increasingly turning Eastwards.

The House of Saud today faces a distinctive predicament. Over recent decades, the Saudi kingdom has single-handedly pumped millions upon millions of US Dollars to fund the Wahhabi sect of Islam around the world. The Saudi monarchy which came into power on the crest of Wahhabi fanaticism, resolved to export Wahhabi ideology from 1979 with the particular aim of countering the Shia following the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Today, the godfathers of the Wahhabi and Salafist groups are haunted by the products of their very own making. Faced on the one hand with the return of their now matured brood, and on the other by a resolutely passionate political agenda on the Arab street strongly against US imperialism in the region, the Saudi monarchy has chosen to kill both birds with the fire of sectarianism.

The impression of a wounded fox with no other weapon in hand except for its most primordial ability to fan the fires of sectarianism is thus the proper context against which these coordinated attacks by the Saudi army aided by the fanatical ‘moral police’ (the Mutawwa’ah) ought to be seen. From Nigeria to Pakistan, Saudi policy is operating with the single goal of obfuscating the ‘awakening’ of the Arab and Muslim populous through providing regional developments with sectarian overtones. Invented terminologies like the ‘Shia tide’ and the ‘Shia crescent’ are used in line with this agenda: an agenda to polarize the unifying Muslim ranks that stand against US imperialism in the Middle East into ‘Sunni’ and ‘Shia’ bastions.

Muslims around the world, especially those who are situated in the Middle East, should be cognizant of these underlying currents. They should not allow themselves to be utilized as instruments through which the waning power of client-states in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world is consolidated. In this regard, the primary onus falls upon Muslim leaders to refrain from pitching these clashes as ‘sectarian wars’.

Ali Jawad is a political activist and a member of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM) – http://www.aimislam.com

ECO is a symbol of friendship and cooperation in the region

ECO is a symbol of friendship and cooperation in the region The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran described the environment of the tenth Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit as being full of love and a symbol of friendship and cooperation.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said at the end of the tenth ECO summit that it was precise and informative. He said that the members of ECO can definitely secure each other’s needs and make them independent from foreign aid.

Ahmadinejad in his final statement said that the summit was powerful and beneficial. This statement included various dimensions including how to cope with the world’s financial crisis.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s president said that the most important issues that were discussed in Tehran were business, energy, and transportation cooperation.

Ahmadinejad confirmed that there is unity between the members of ECO and that all of the members clearly stated that the relations between their countries are a brotherly and just relationship along the foundations of mutual benefit. All of the members agreed that a just economical system must replace the present economical system found in the world.

Islam Times

Ahmadinejad emphasizes the need of Islamic countries to be independent

The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the prince of Qatar discussed the important issues of the region.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran met with Shaykh Hamadi bin Khalifa ath-Thani, the prince of Qatar, in Tehran. He emphasized the need for Islamic countries to protect their honor and independence. He also stated that it is necessary that Islamic countries cooperate with each other to actualize their nations’ benefits.

The Iranian president clearly stated in regards to the international economical drought and the defeat of international armies that the west is trying to solve its problems by forming new systems and transferring them to other countries. Independent countries must create systems that are in their own benefit and prevent the moves of the western countries.

Qatar’s prince praised Iran for their progress in various fields and said that the Islamic world has strengths like Iran and that the progress that is made in this country is to the benefit of the Islamic world.

Qatar’s prince, in regards to the situation in Gaza, added that the Zionist regime, with the green light given by some countries, intended to occupy Gaza. But, the Doha conference and the support of the region prevented them from doing so.

Islam Times

Acting in accordance to the words of Iran’s leader is a way to solve the Palestinian Issue

The famous reporter for Qatar’s Al-Jazeera stated that the latest speech by Ayatollah Khamenei in the conference in Tehran is a way to solve the Palestinian Issue. He emphasized the need to form an official organization which would follow up the judicial process condemning the Zionist crimes.

Ghassan bin Jiddu, a famous reporter for Qatar’s Al-Jazeera and who was the head of its Tehran office for sometime, stated in a conversation with a Fars News agent in regards to the latest Palestinian conference that was held in Tehran: “The timing of this conference is very important. I believe that it is the only large conference after the attack on Gaza which supports the resistance.”

Bin Jiddu stated in regards to the recent Sharm al-Shaykh conference: “The Sharm al-Shaykh conference was established with the slogan of rebuilding Gaza. But, I believe that the main purpose behind it was weakening the resistance of Hamas through political and economic blockades. They did this to take away from the victory of the resistance against the Zionist regime.”

In regards to the crimes that the Zionist regime committed against the innocent women and children of Gaza he clearly stated: “After the Gaza War many voices wanted the Zionist regime to be tried. In my opinion for this to be practical an official organization must be formed which would have the responsibility of following up legal battles against the Zionist regime and the crimes they committed against the people of Gaza.”

The reported from Al-Jazeera stated that one of the strengths of the conference was the presence of high Iranian officials in support of Gaza and Palestine. He stated: “It rarely happens that the Supreme Leader, the three heads of the Islamic Republic, and the other high officials of this country, come together and attend a conference. This shows the importance that was given to this conference.”

In regards to the speech by Ayatollah Khamenei, he said: “Iran’s leader spoke about the extremely important issues of the conference. Acting in accordance to what he said would solve many of the problems that the Palestinians are facing.”

Bin Jiddu, a Tunisian reporter, immediately went to the war-torn areas of Gaza after the fighting stopped. He said that the purpose behind this trip was: “To picture the activities and the strength of the resistance and the Palestinian warriors was my clear purpose. Interviews were taken and therefore, I went there to try to show how these military leaders were.”

He ended by saying: “Today the resistance is a reality that cannot be denied. Nobody can weaken it. It is up to us to use them politically in order to overcome the Zionists.”

Iran Next Target, Warns Israeli Diplomat

A SENIOR Israeli diplomat has warned that Israel is ready to launch a military offensive against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

In an interview with The Age, Dan Gillerman, who was Israel’s permanent representative at the United Nations from 2003 until last September, said time for diplomatic efforts to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear capability might have already expired.

“The world cannot afford to live with a nuclear Iran,” Mr Gillerman said. “I hope diplomacy will work, but I’m not sure we have the time for diplomacy to work.

“Israel has made it very clear that it will not live with a nuclear Iran and I believe that Israel has the ability and the capacity to make sure it will not happen.”

Mr Gillerman, who will visit Australia later this month, said two clocks were running with respect to Iran: “There is the technological clock of Iran and there is the diplomatic clock, and I think the Iranian clock is running much faster.”

Detailed military plans to bomb Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant have long been on the table of Israeli military commanders. Outgoing Defence Minister Ehud Barak is believed to have requested US support for a military strike last May, but the plans were aborted after then-president George Bush declined to endorse them.

Last June, Israel carried out military exercises over the Mediterranean involving more than 100 F-16 and F-15 fighters in what was interpreted as a rehearsal for an attack on Iran’s nuclear plants. At the time, The New York Times reported that as well as sending a warning to Tehran, the exercise was intended as a message to the US that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium faltered.

On Tuesday, the man likely to lead Israel’s next government, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, made a reference to Iran in his victory speech. He said: “Israel is facing an Iranian threat, from afar and from near. The nuclear threat and the terror threat … it will be up to us to deal with this, and we will be able to deal with these two challenges successfully.”

Israel has carried out two strikes on suspected nuclear sites over the past 30 years. In 1981, its jets bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, and in September 2007, Israeli aircraft bombed a structure in Syria that was alleged to have housed a nuclear reactor.

Any new attack against Iran would be much more complicated, with the country’s uranium enrichment plants spread across many sites. Iran’s comparatively sophisticated military and its distance from Israel would present further complications for military planners and risk setting off a full-scale war.

Mr Gillerman said the world could not afford to underestimate the seriousness of the Iranian threat. “We have a very extreme, radical fundamentalist regime there with a president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) who denies the Holocaust while preparing the next one, and has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the map. My advice to the rest of the world is to listen to him very carefully and take him at face value.”

Informationclearinghouse

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