>> Netanyahu: Iran closer to nuclear ‘red line’
Speaking via satellite to some 13,000 pro-Israel activists at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. today, Israeli Prime Minister outlined the top three items on the agenda for President Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel. He warned that diplomacy has failed to stop Iran’s pursuit of The Bomb, and he called for a credible military threat because the time to act is running out.
“The President and I agreed to focus our discussions on three main issues,” Netanyahu said. “First, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons; Second, the deteriorating situation in Syria; And third, the need to find a responsible way to advance the peace with the Palestinians.”
Here is the full text. Here are key excerpts:
IRAN NUCLEAR THREAT — “Now, on the first point: Iran has made it clear that it will continue to defy the will of the international community. Time after time, the world’s leading powers have tabled diplomatic proposals to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully. But I have to tell you the truth. Diplomacy has not worked. Iran ignores all these offers. It is Running out the clock. It has used negotiations, including the most recent ones, to buy time to press ahead with its nuclear program. Thus far, the sanctions have not stopped the nuclear program either. The sanctions have hit the Iranian economy hard. That is true. But Iran’s leaders just grit their teeth and move forward. Iran enriches more and more uranium; It installs faster and faster centrifuges; It’s still not crossed the red line I drew at the United Nations last September. But Iran is getting closer to that line, and it’s putting itself in a position to cross that line very quickly once it decides to do so….To prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we cannot allow Iran to cross that red line. We have to stop its nuclear enrichment program before it’s too late. And I have to tell you, and with the clarity of my brain: words alone will not stop Iran; Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.”
IMPLOSION OF SYRIA — “The second issue I intend to discuss with President Obama is the situation in Syria. Over the last two years, over 70,000 Syrians have been killed.
Hundreds of thousands have been wounded and maimed. Millions have been forced to flee their homes. Besides this humanitarian crisis of great tragedy, Syria could soon become a strategic crisis. One of monumental proportions. Syria is a very poor country, but it has chemical weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and many other of the world’s most deadly and sophisticated arms. As the Syrian regime collapses, the danger of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups is very real. Terror groups such as Hezbollah and Al Qaeda are trying to seize these weapons as we speak. They are like hyenas feeding off a carcass — and the carcass is not even dead yet. These terror groups are committed to Israel’s destruction. They have repeatedly attacked the United States. They are global terrorist organizations that can perpetrate terror attacks anywhere in the world. We’ve just seen that, in Cyprus, in Bulgaria, everywhere. This is why we have a common interest in preventing them from obtaining these deadly weapons.”
PEACE WITH THE PALESTINIANS — “The third issue I intend to discuss with President Obama is our common quest for peace. Israel seeks a peace with our Palestinian neighbors – a peace that will end our conflict once and for all. That peace must be grounded in reality; and it must be grounded in security. Israel withdrew from Lebanon; We withdrew from Gaza; We gave up territory. We got terror. We cannot allow that to happen a third time. Israel is prepared for a meaningful compromise. But as Israel’s Prime Minister, I will never compromise on our security. We must work together to find a realistic path forward – And I think that path has to be a measured step-by-step process in which we work to advance to a verifiable, durable and defensible peace. It has to be defensible, because in the Middle East, especially in this Middle East, a peace you cannot defend will not hold for five minutes.”
>> Full text of the speech Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave to AIPAC.
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