Interviewed by CBC's Peter Mansbridge, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded his host, and CBC audience, that the Palestinians have never publicly acknowledged the right of Israel to exist. He also reminded us that when Israel made concessions in both Gaza and the West Bank, through its proxies, Iran virtually took them over. He vows that concessions must not have a similar result for a third time!
He further reminded us that it was he, when first serving as Prime Minister, in 1996, speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, who told the world that the greatest danger to world peace was a nuclear-armed Iran.While there was great consternation then, now fourteen years later, the world has come to grasp the significance of this potential development.
Seeking to begin unconditional talks directly with the Palestinians, Netanyahu, nevertheless, has a firm position about how those talks must end successfully: with a demilitarized Palestinian state peacefully co-existing with a separate Israeli state.
He dodged Mansbridge's question about whether the world had a right to know the extent of Israel's nuclear capability.
However, he did disclose that Israel is intercepting (he used "interdicting") ships from Iran, loaded with missiles for Hezbollah and Hamas, for use against Israel. One such ship, according to Netanyahu, was carrying some 200 tonnes of missiles which were "interdicted" by the Israel navy on the high seas.
The publicly stated aim, desire, policy and strategy to "wipe Israel from the face of the earth" by the President of Iran and his terrorist henchmen in both Hezbollah and Hamas is a goal "up with which the rest of the world must not put"! No people deserve to be put in the crosshairs of another power declaring extinction of that people to be their goal.
Finding a warm and hospitable reception from Canada, especially from the Harper government, a true friend of Israel, the Prime Minister begins his "make-up" tour in Canada, before heading to Washington to do some heavy lifting to repair U.S.-Israeli relations...something the Americans have already begun.
Can Netanyahu and Abbu Mazzen, leader of the Palestinians, accomplish what no other two leaders of their respective people have achieved...authentic, secure and credible peace between these two warring rivals?
The world hopes and prays they can! And soon!
Wednesday June 2, 2010...2:28 p.m.
Now the Israeli PM has returned home, leaving the U.S. portion of his trip
incomplete, following the killing of 9 social activists in a raid on a Turkey ship attempting to break through the Israeli blockade near Gaza.
Words like amateurish, bungled, and incompetent are being used to describe the incident, and the Israeli military is wiping the egg from its face. And to think this is the same military that the world counted on whenever there was a difficult mission to accomplish, like the Entebbe raid in Uganda.
Is the blockade "legal"? Opinions differ greatly.
Is the boarding of a foreign ship, in the middle of a blockade "legal"?
Is there a movement in Israel itself seeking to discredit the Defense Minister, or the Prime Minister?
Is the list of banned goods really public, and does it include legitimate and dangerous items that could be used by terrorists? There seems to be some dispute about this. For example, are concrete and steel bars agreed to be dangerous, in the hands of terrorists?
Is this a prelude to an Israeli attack on Iran, with the accompanying "dredging" of the U.S. into the skirmish? If so, there is real anxiety about such a botched attempt, as the prelude and paradigm.
Will Israel conduct its own investigation, and prohibit an international investigation?
Where is the truth? And more importantly, where is the appropriate leverage, authority and credibility to seek out the truth? Is it in the U.N.?