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Posts tagged ‘Yuval Steinitz’

Kerry Defends Peace Efforts as Israeli Criticism Gets Personal.


Image: Kerry Defends Peace Efforts as Israeli Criticism Gets Personal

Israeli officials’ jibes at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have intensified as he works on a blueprint for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, forcing him to defend a mission already burdened by wide gaps.

“Unfortunately, there are some people in Israel, and in Palestine and in the Arab world, and around the world, who don’t support the peace process,” Kerry said yesterday in an interview on CNN. “I’ve been, quote, ‘attacked’ before by people using real bullets, not words. And I am not going to be intimidated.”

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Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon launched the opening salvo last month by describing him as “messianic” and “obsessed” with reaching a peace deal — remarks he later apologized for making. Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz fanned the flames this week by accusing Kerry of supporting Palestinian efforts to boycott Israel with remarks that were “offensive, unfair and intolerable.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to agree with Steinitz while not mentioning Kerry by name, telling his cabinet this week that “threats to boycott the state of Israel will not achieve their goal.”

Kerry had warned at a security conference in Munich on Feb. 1 that Israel could face growing economic sanctions if the peace talks failed. His remarks, he said, were “distorted” by his Israeli critics.

“I did not do anything except cite what other people are talking about as a problem, but I also have always opposed boycotts,” he later said.

Peace Vision

Kerry has been pushing to clinch a peace deal that has eluded Israelis and Palestinians for decades, and is preparing to present the sides with a vision of an accord that is to serve as a guideline for talks on a final agreement. Reports that the proposal includes handing over West Bank territory now populated by Jewish settlers have especially incensed Israelis opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Opponents include lawmaker Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home Party, who told Israel Radio that Kerry’s policies contained an “undertone” of anti- Semitism, before being asked by the Anti-Defamation League to retract the remark.

The official council representing Israel’s West Bank settlers has produced several videos parodying Kerry’s peace efforts. The latest, released this week, shows an actor portraying Kerry trying to persuade Israelis to give up control of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, located on territory claimed by the Palestinians, by promising to build a new one “closer to the beach.”

Precedents Set

Israeli criticism of the kind directed against Kerry is neither a first, nor the harshest, aimed at a U.S. secretary of state, said Mark Heller senior research fellow at Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies.

“You had such language used against James Baker in the early 1990s, and even worse aimed at Henry Kissinger in the 1970s, when many Israelis attacked him as a Jewish traitor. But that was at street demonstrations; what’s new here is the level of criticism coming from ministers,” Heller said.

Baker, who prodded Israel into its first talks with Palestinian officials at the 1991 Madrid conference, was accused of anti-Semitism after he was reported using an expletive to express his frustration with Israel’s American-Jewish supporters. Kissinger drew street protests after the 1973 Mideast war as he pressed Israel to withdraw from Egyptian and Syrian territory it conquered.

Criticism Assailed

Kerry also has supporters in the cabinet who have criticized the attacks on him as damaging Israel’s alliance with its most important ally.

“Ministers and others are speaking in a way that upsets me as an Israeli,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is leading negotiations with the Palestinians, told Israel Radio this week. “There are people who don’t want to reach an agreement, they don’t care what Kerry will present.”

There are two likely reasons for the intensity of the Kerry criticism, Heller said.

“First, is that some ministers are saying these things intending to gain domestic political benefit,” he said. “Second, it may just be a sign of panic from opponents of the peace process that this time we might really be getting close to a deal.”

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© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Israeli Ministers Blast Kerry over Boycott Remark.


Secretary of State John Kerry came under further attack Monday by Israeli hawks who accuse him of manipulating the threat of an economic boycott to pressure Israel into peace concessions.

The latest war of words between the two allies erupted Saturday after Kerry warned that Israel was facing a growing campaign of delegitimization which would likely worsen if peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed.

Washington’s top diplomat also referred to “talk of boycotts” of Israel.

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A growing number of governments and businesses have recently said they will not trade with Israeli firms with ties to Jewish settlements, highlighting the creeping success of a Palestinian-led boycott campaign.

The so-called BDS movement — boycott, divestment and sanctions — works to convince governments, businesses and celebrities to cut ties with Israeli companies active in the occupied Palestinian territories, in a bid to repeat the success of the boycott which ended apartheid in South Africa.

Hardliners in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were quick to lash out at Kerry.

One described his remarks as “offensive” and another accused him of working “to amplify” the boycott threat, prompting a terse statement from Washington urging Kerry’s critics to get their facts straight.

But there was no sign they were backing down on Monday.

“It is sad to see that the US administration does not understand the reality of the Middle East and exerts pressure on the wrong side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Gilad Erdan, Minister for Home Front Defence and a close associate of Netanyahu.

“I would have liked John Kerry to explain to (Palestinian president) Mahmud Abbas what is likely to happen if he continues to refuse to make peace,” he told public radio.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the far-right Jewish Home party, which opposes a two-state solution to the conflict, told army radio that in raising the threat of a boycott, Kerry was not being “an honest broker” in the negotiations.

Since January 1, the European Union has blocked all grants and funding to Israeli entities operating beyond the pre-1967 war lines, sparking growing alarm in Israel.

Netanyahu has called “hypocritical” the EU’s firm position against Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

On Sunday the prime minister took an indirect swipe at Kerry, saying attempts to boycott Israel were “immoral and unjust” and that he would not bow to pressure in the negotiations.

“No pressure will cause me to concede the vital interests of the State of Israel, especially the security of Israel’s citizens. For both of these reasons, threats to boycott the State of Israel will not achieve their goal.”

Earlier Sunday, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz lashed out at Kerry, calling his remarks “offensive, unfair and intolerable,” and said Israel would could not be expected “to negotiate with a gun at its head while it discusses issues critical to its diplomatic and security interests.”

And on Saturday, Economy Minister and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett said Israel would not “give its country up over economic threats” and that it expected its allies “to stand by our side in the face of the anti-Semitic boycott attempts, not amplify them.”

But US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki hit back saying Kerry had demonstrated “staunch opposition to boycotts” and his remarks in Munich had merely “described some well-known and previously stated facts about what is at stake for both sides if this process fails.”

“His only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others that he has always opposed,” she said, suggesting his critics make efforts to “accurately portray his record and statements.”

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© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Dead.


JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the trailblazing warrior-statesman who transformed the region and was reviled by Arab foes, died on Saturday at the age of 85 and after eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.

The Sheba Medical Center that has been treating Sharon said last week that his health has been declining. Sharon had been suffered from failure vital organs including his kidneys shortly before his death.

The Associated Press reported that his son, Gilad Sharon, said: “He has gone. He went when he decided to go.”

Sharon’s nurse, Marina Lifschitz, said he had not suffered while lying comatose, though he had at times given basic responses to stimuli. She recalled at one point holding up a picture of his late wife, Lily, for him to view.”And suddenly I saw a tear simply rolling out of his eye. That is very difficult to forget,” Lifschitz told reporters.

A maverick in war and politics, Sharon reshaped the Middle East in a career marked by adventurism and disgrace, dramatic reversals and stunning rebounds.

“Arik was a valorous soldier and a bold statesman who contributed much to the security and building up of the State of Israel,” said President Shimon Peres, a former political ally of Sharon and, with the ex-premier’s death, the last of the Jewish state’s founders still in public life.

“Arik loved his people, and his people loved him,” Peres said, using the nickname of Sharon, a famously burly and blunt figure with a prizefighter’s rolling gait.
“He knew no fear and never feared pursuing a vision.”
Officials said Sharon, who took power in 2001 soon after the start of a second Palestinian uprising that raged until 2005, would be given a state funeral.

One official said Sharon’s remains would lie in state in parliament in Jerusalem on Sunday. A memorial service will be held there on Monday morning, followed by an afternoon funeral near Sycamore Farm, Sharon’s residence in southern Israel.Among foreign dignitaries expected to attend are U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former British prime minister Tony Blair, the official said.

Loathed by many Arabs and a divisive figure within Israel, Sharon left his mark on the region as perhaps no other through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock decision to pull out of Gaza.
“The nation of Israel has today lost a dear man, a great leader and a bold warrior,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.
There was no immediate comment on the death from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with whom Sharon’s Likud party successor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been holding U.S.-sponsored peace talks.
But in Gaza, the Hamas Islamists whose political fortunes rose with the Israeli withdrawal savored Sharon’s demise.
“We have become more confident in victory with the departure of this tyrant,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zurhi, whose movement preaches the destruction of the Jewish state.
“Our people today feel extreme happiness at the death and departure of this criminal whose hands were smeared with the blood of our people and the blood of our leaders here and in exile.”
A commander in the army from the birth of Israel in 1948, he went on to hold many of the top offices of state, surviving fierce debate over his role in refugee camp massacres in the 1982 Lebanon war to be elected prime minister in 2001.
Famously overweight, he suffered a stroke that put him into a coma in 2006, when he was at the height of his power, and died on Saturday without ever apparently regaining consciousness.
Some diplomats believed that had he remained in good health, he would have secured peace with the Palestinians after overcoming domestic critics to force through the withdrawal of troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
“As one who fought in all of Israel’s wars, and learned from personal experience that without proper force, we do not have a chance of surviving in this region . . . I have also learned from experience that the sword alone cannot decide this bitter dispute in this land,” Sharon said in 2004, explaining his move.
But critics said the unilateralism he favored helped discredit diplomacy and embolden ideological hardliners.
As prime minister, Sharon presided over some of the most turbulent times in Israeli-Palestinian history, a Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000 and an Israeli military crackdown after peace talks collapsed. As Israel’s leader, he besieged his arch-nemesis Yasser Arafat with tanks after suicide bombers flooded Israel from the occupied West Bank.
Long a champion of Jewish settlement on land Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war, Sharon, serving in 1998 as foreign minister, urged settlers in the West Bank to “run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours.”
He said the contested decision to quit the Gaza Strip, which pulled apart his Likud party and persuaded him to form a new political force, would enable Israel to strengthen its hold over “territory which is essential to our existence.”
It was a reference to the West Bank, where his government began the construction of a massive barrier during the Palestinian uprising. Israel called it a security measure – Palestinians condemned the project as a land grab.
Sharon dominated Israel to a degree not seen since the era of its founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.
Like many native Israeli leaders, Sharon, born in British-mandated Palestine, grew up in a farming community. He later lived in a sprawling ranch in southern Israel, and was often photographed lumbering through its fields.
Sharon joined the pre-state Haganah Jewish underground at the age of 14.
Wounded as a young officer in the 1948 war of Israel’s founding, he went on to lead key commando units and crafted a policy of reprisals – even at the cost of innocent lives – for cross-border Palestinian guerrilla raids.
Along with a reputation in the military for recklessness and disobeying orders, Sharon was hailed for daring operations that brought victories on the battlefield. He retired a major-general.
“It was he who set out the principle that no one who attacked our troops or civilians would be immune, no matter where they were,” said ex-Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai.
Passed over for chief-of-staff, Sharon left the military in the summer of 1973. Three months after he quit, he was back as a reservist-general, commanding troops that launched a counter-offensive that helped rout Egyptian forces in the Yom Kippur 1973 Middle East war.
A photo of Sharon in the desert, in battle fatigues and with his head bandaged, became an iconic image of the conflict.
He helped form the Likud party, which courted Israel’s underclass of Jews of Middle Eastern descent and rose to power in the 1977 election, ending the dominance of the “European” Labor Party.
Appointed agriculture minister, Sharon used that post and his chairmanship of a ministerial settlements committee to break ground on new settlements – helping to earn him the nickname “Bulldozer.”
As defense minister under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Sharon masterminded the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, one of Israel’s most divisive campaigns.
What started as a stab against Palestinian guerrillas on the border evolved into a murky and costly bid to install a government more friendly to Israel in Beirut.
Arab hatred of Sharon crested with the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila by Israeli-allied Christian militiamen.

Sharon denied wrongdoing but was eventually forced to resign as defense chief in 1983 after an Israeli probe said he bore “personal responsibility” for not preventing the bloodshed.

Sharon described those findings as a “mark of Cain”, and many thought that his political career was finished. But after holding a series of cabinet posts, he was elected as the head of the Likud in 1999 and prime minister in 2001, serving until his stroke five years later.
As a cabinet minister, he visited Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound in 2000, the third holiest place in Islam, which is also revered by Jews as the site of the Biblical Jewish Temples.
The visit, in a part of Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed in a move that has never won international recognition, was widely seen as a spark for the second Palestinian uprising.
During the subsequent tsunami of violence, the respected Palestinian-American academic Edward Said called Sharon a “homicidal prime minister” who deployed “systematic barbarity” against the Palestinians throughout his career.
“Isn’t it clear that Sharon is bent not only on breaking the Palestinians but on trying to eliminate them as a people with national institutions?” Said wrote in The Nation newspaper in 2002, a year before his death.
Known in Israel by his popular nickname “Arik”, Sharon could charm with a grandfatherly glint in his eye and a jocular laugh. He could also flash disapproval with a cold, steely stare. He had a penchant for Broadway musicals and copious amounts of food.
Sharon was married twice. His first wife, Margalit, died in a car accident in 1962. They had one son, who was killed in 1967 when a friend accidentally shot him while playing with a rifle. In 1963, Sharon married Margalit’s sister, Lily, who died of cancer in 2000. They had two sons.
“Sharon was a mass of contradictions – a peerless cynic and a proven patriot, a man who built up the Likud and then walked out on it, who mixed up Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank while pulling out of Gaza,” said Uzi Benziman, author of “Sharon: An Israeli Caesar.”
He noted the varying theories about what motivated the Gaza withdrawal, including that it aimed to distract from corruption allegations at the time that dogged Sharon and his sons.
“Whatever the truth, it cannot be denied that Sharon’s legacy was to convey to Israelis that holding on to all of the (Palestinian) territories would not last,” Benziman said. “He was the last of the real leaders.”

© 2014 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

Netanyahu: Any US Spying on Israel Is Not ‘Acceptable to Us’.


Image: Netanyahu: Any US Spying on Israel Is Not 'Acceptable to Us'

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting on allegations the United States had spied on Israel’s leaders, said on Monday such activity was unacceptable and had no place in the allies’ close relationship.Documents leaked on Friday by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ had in 2009 targeted an email address listed as belonging to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and monitored emails of senior defense officials.

“With regard to things published in the past few days, I have asked for an examination of the matter,” Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks, in a clear reference to the alleged espionage.

He did not elaborate on whether Israel intended to ask Washington for clarifications.

“In the close ties between Israel and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us,” Netanyahu said, speaking to legislators from his right-wing Likud party.

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On Sunday, several Israeli Cabinet members and lawmakers said disclosure of U.S. spying on Israel was an opportunity to press Washington to free jailed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, was sentenced to a life term in 1987 in the United States for spying for Israel. A succession of U.S. presidents have spurned Israeli calls for his pardon.

In what appeared to be an attempt to calm the clamor, Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel had constantly sought Pollard’s release and did not need any “special occasion” to discuss his case with Washington.

Israeli officials have played down the importance of any information the United States may have gleaned from its alleged espionage activities.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel had always assumed that even its allies spied on it.

A statement issued by Olmert’s office, said the reports, if accurate, referred to a public email address and that chances that any security or intelligence damage had been caused were minuscule.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

US Fears Israel Now Preparing To Strike Iran Alone.


Israel must do whats necessary to stop the bomb

Talks in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program are triggering fears within U.S. intelligence agencies that Israel is hardening its stance on Iran and could conduct a military attack to stave off what the Jewish state believes is a delaying tactic for Tehran to buy time to build nuclear weapons.

israel-idf-planning-to-strike-iranian-nuclear-facilities-october-2013

The clearest indicator of growing Israeli concerns, according to defense officials, is the recent large-scale Israeli air force drill Tuesday in the northern part of the country. The exercises along the northern border and over the Mediterranean were considered unusually large.

An Israeli defense source told Israel’s Walla! news outlet: “Changes have recently occurred in the Middle East. The [Israeli Defense Force] is preparing for those changes in both the closer and more distant perimeters, and yesterday’s exercise was intended to signal the IDF’s serious intention of dealing with those problems and thwarting them.”

Additionally, Israeli air forces conducted long-range fighter exercises last week involving in-flight refueling practice.

The talks in Geneva have produced press reports that the Obama administration is preparing to ease sanctions on Iran following conciliatory statements by Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. last month.

Israeli Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Yuval Steinitz, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Wednesday that Israel would welcome an agreement to end Iran’s nuclear arms program. But Israel remains concerned that “Geneva 2013 could become Munich 1938,” Mr. Steinitz said, referring to the agreement appeasing Nazi Germany’s seizure of Czech territory in the months before the outbreak of World War II. source – Washington Times.

by NTEB News Desk

Israeli Minister: No Time Left for Negotiations With Iran.


Iranian workers stand in front of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, about 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran.
Iranian workers stand in front of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, about 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran. (Majid Asgaripour/Reuters)

Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb within six months and time has run out for further negotiations, a senior Israeli minister said.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Iran still believed it had room for maneuver in dealing with world powers, and that unless it faced a credible threat of U.S. military action, it would not stop its nuclear activities.

“There is no more time to hold negotiations,” Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in an interview with the Israel Hayom daily published on Friday.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is working towards a nuclear weapons capability despite Tehran’s insistence that its atomic program has only peaceful aims.

During four years of international negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, during which U.N.-sponsored sanctions have hit Iran’s economy hard, Steinitz said the Islamic Republic had only improved its capabilities.

“If the Iranians continue to run, in another half a year they will have bomb capability,” he said.

Israel has dismissed overtures to the West by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and his pledge in an interview on U.S. television that Iran would never develop nuclear weapons.

“One must not be fooled by the Iranian president’s fraudulent words,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “The Iranians are spinning in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning.”

Both Israel and the United States have hinted at possible military action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran should sanctions and diplomacy fail to curb its atomic program.

But Steinitz said a phrase used often in the past by U.S. and Israeli leaders – that “all options are on the table” in confronting Iran – was not enough to persuade Tehran to stop its uranium enrichment.

“I am sure that had there been three aircraft carriers with an American declaration that in the event the Iranians do not honor the Security Council decisions, the Americans are expected to attack by 2013, they would have acted differently,” he said.

“Today the Iranians take into account that they have room to maneuver, and that is the most dangerous thing,” he said.

Iran says its nuclear work is entirely peaceful and calls Israel’s presumed atomic arsenal the bigger danger to the region.

Steinitz said Netanyahu had learned a lesson from Syria, where the world has stood largely by while over 100,000 people have died in two and a half years of civil war.

“It must be understood that no one will come to help us if, heaven forefend, we lose the ability to defend ourselves. Therefore we must do everything to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Netanyahu is due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Sept. 30 and has said that he wants to focus on Iran during the talks.

(Editing by Alison Williams)

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Israel: Iranian President’s ‘Charm Offensive’ a Charade.


Obama and Rouhani
Members of the international advocacy group Avaaz take part in a protest wearing masks of Iran‘s new President Hasan Rouhani (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama outside the U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 24, 2013. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, will arrive at the U.N. at an awkward time, as he will have to try and curb the international community’s enthusiasm for the new Iranian leadership.

“A bad agreement is worse than no agreement at all,” an Israeli source was quoted by the New York Timesas saying on Sunday. According the source, Netanyahu’s address will draw parallel lines between the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

“Iran must not be allowed to repeat North Korea’s ploy to get nuclear weapons,” the Israeli official told the Times. “Just like North Korea before it, Iran professes to seemingly peaceful intentions; it talks the talk of nonproliferation while seeking to ease sanctions and buy more time for its nuclear program.”

The White House, meanwhile, does not fully subscribe to the comparison between Tehran and Pyongyang.

“The comparison is simply that they are two nations that have not abided by international nonproliferation norms,” Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin Rhodes says. “But the fact of the matter is North Korea already has a nuclear weapon. They acquired one, tested one in the beginning of 2006. And Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon.

“That’s all the more reason why we need to take steps to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon so that we’re not presented with the type of situation that we have in North Korea, where you’re seeking to denuclearize a country that has already crossed that threshold.”

“It seems the world is willing to fall for [Iranian President Hasan] Rouhani’s charade,” said Yuval Steinitz, minister for international, intelligence and strategic affairs, in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday. “We are aware of the fact that some of the world is willing to be fooled.”

Steinitz, who is currently in New York, added, “Rouhani is trying to deceive the world, and some of the world is willing to be deceived. Israel’s role is to fight for the truth, and we are doing our best. What we are seeing from the Iranian president is a charm offensive and smile diplomacy, but there is no change is the substance [of Iran’s rhetoric].”

Asked about the chances of a potential handshake between Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama, Steinitz said, “I hope not. I don’t know.”

He stressed, “The important thing is not just words and appearances. The important thing is the actions. The important thing is the resolutions … and I really hope that the whole world, and chiefly among them the United States, will say, ‘OK, it’s nice to see the smiles, to hear the new rhetoric, but as long as you don’t change the conduct, and as long as you don’t make a real concession in the nuclear project, the economic sanctions will continue and, if there is need, will be joined by a military threat as well.’”

Rouhani and Obama delivered speeches to the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Washington says it remains determined to deny the Iranians the means to make nuclear arms, but its willingness to engage them directly complicates the strategy for Netanyahu, who will address the world forum on October 1.

The day before, Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Obama at the White House for discussions on Iran that Israeli officials say will affect the content and tone of his U.N. speech.

During last year’s speech, Netanyahu set a “red line” that he said would trigger Israeli military strikes on Iranian nuclear sites, drawing it across a cartoonish bomb representing the pace and scale of the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment.

This time around, some Israeli officials predict, he will opt for a more sober message, with facts trumping rhetoric. As Iran has kept its uranium enrichment below the Israeli threshold, they say, he will note it has also made progress on another track that could yield bomb-grade plutonium.

Steinitz said last week that Iran, on its current course, could make a nuclear weapon in six months. “There is no more time for nuclear negotiations,” he told Israel Hayom.

But with a new round of such talks in the works, Steinitz reaffirmed Israel’s position that it would support a diplomatic solution that truly halted Iran’s nuclear program. He described this as unlikely, saying Rouhani brought a deceptive change of style but not substance to Iranian policy making.

“We are certainly warning the entire international community that Iran may want an agreement, but it is liable to be the Munich agreement,” Steinitz said, referring to the 1938 appeasement of Nazi Germany.

“Rouhani wants to hoodwink, and some in the world want to be hoodwinked, and the role of little Israel is to explain the truth and to stand in the breach,” he said. “And that is what we are doing to the best of our abilities. It is a long struggle.”

For the original article, visit israelhayom.com.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

REUTERS AND ISRAEL HAYOM STAFF

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