Israel - Peres: Obama Will Use Military Power Against Iran
Israel - In comments published by The New York Times on Wednesday, President Shimon Peres said he is sure that his US counterpart will use military power against Iran “in the end.”
In a series of interviews published by The Times and conducted by Yedioth Ahronoth journalist Ronen Bergman in July of last year at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the president said “America knows how to throw a punch when it has to.”
“They [America] don’t begin by shooting. They try all the other means first — economic sanctions, political pressure, negotiations, everything possible. But in the end, if none of this works, then President Obama will use military power against Iran. I am sure of it,” the president said.
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Addressing the rift that arose between himself and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the option of using military force against Iran, Peres said: “I expressed my opinion, and that was my duty.”
In an apparent dig at the prime minister over ongoing disagreements regarding the viability of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a ‘partner for peace,’ Peres said that if the “people of Israel heard from the leadership that there is a chance for peace, they would take up the gauntlet and believe it.”
Continuing, the president said: “He [Netanyahu] may do nothing, but that doesn’t mean that things won’t be done. This idea, that history is a horse that can be held by the tail, is a foolish idea. After all, the fire can be lit in an instant: another word, another shot, and in the end everyone will lose control. If there is no diplomatic decision, the Palestinians will go back to terror.”
On the future of peace talks, the president told Bergman that, like the Oslo process, any future negotiations have to be secret.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] and I met for long talks, with Netanyahu’s knowledge, and even reached more than a few agreements. To my regret, in the end there was always some rupture, and I do not want to go into the reasons for that now. This is not a simple negotiation — but I thought the conditions exist to set out on the path.”
In spite of Western accusations that settlements are an obstruction to the two-state solution, Peres defended continued building, stating: “the settlers have not eliminated the chance for the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Addressing the issue reigning in headlines over the past year, Peres said the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad “would be a suicidal act.”
The president told Bergman that should Syria aim the weapons at Israel, or Syrian civilians, Israel would take “decisive and immediate action…No less important, Assad is liable to transfer the chemical weapons to Hezbollah, which from our point of view will constitute crossing a red line. It is incumbent upon Israel to prevent such a thing from happening, and it will take firm military action to do so.”
In a hopeful conclusion to the interviews, the president added that if he has another 10 years to live, he is sure he will see peace.
“I am sure that I will have the privilege of seeing peace come even to this dismal and wonderful and amazing part of the world,” Peres said.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post
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