A Teleconference With Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The fine folks over at One Jerusalem set up a blogger teleconference with my favorite Israeli politician, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here are my notes, not quotes, from the teleconference.

Opening Statement

Hamas and their backers in Iran want to destroy Israel and will use any method to do it. This is the front line in the battle between radical Islam and the West. It matters a great deal whether Iran has a victory or defeat in one of its forward outposts on the Mediterranean.

Also, is the world going to give credence to terrorists hiding amongst civilians and using them as shields? Are they going to legitimize that tactic with Hamas?

We also must ask, is this a just war or an unjust war? An unjust war is one is that has an unjust goal and uses unjust means. The Nazis did that during WW2 and Hamas is doing it now. Hamas is attacking civilians and hiding behind civilians. Israel is defending itself and is targeting the terrorists, not Palestinian civilians. This is justice vs. injustice. Everybody has to choose what side of the fight they are on. There is no middle ground.

The Q&A Session

What result would you like to see from this fighting? (From One Jerusalem)

Israel cannot tolerate an Iranian forward position a few miles from Tel Aviv, raining down rockets on our streets. We want to stop the firing and want to prevent the resupply of rockets. We have to stop the smuggling between Israel and Egypt.

What can Jews and Non-Jews do to help Israel at this time? (From One Jerusalem)

Tell the truth. We don’t target civilians. We do allow humanitarian aid in. We do allow Palestinian wounded to use our hospitals.

For 8 years they have been firing these rockets. What would the U.S. do if rockets were fired at San Diego from Mexico for 8 years? We don’t deliberately target civilians. The people who target civilians are the war criminals.

Has the idea of a two state solution finally died?

It’s certainly problematic since any new land is being taken over by Hamas. The radical elements need to be rolled back. The idea that you can have a political resolution isn’t realistic right now. We need to re-establish security and strengthen economic development in the Palestinian areas.

Do you think America’s policy will change when Obama gets in?

I don’t know. I know he has said he would do everything in his power to prevent rocketing.

Was giving Gaza a mistake? (From Me)

I think the unilateral withdrawal was a big mistake. The 2nd mistake was the abandonment of the Philadelphi corridor. The ceasefire also allowed the terrorists to rearm. However, we want to focus on the future instead of looking back at the past. We need to make sure there are no more rockets fired.

You voted in favor of the disengagement. What can we do to undo the effects?

I didn’t vote in favor of it. When the decision did go through, I resigned in protest. We shouldn’t repeat that mistake with the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, or anywhere else.

How committed do you think the current government should be to the return of Gilad Shalit for a ceasefire?

I don’t speak in a political context about prisoners. I have had to deal with that situation as a Prime Minister and don’t think it should enter into political discussion. I want him back as quickly as possible and will leave it at that.

Do you believe democracies around the world think they need to do something about Iran?

The source of the problem in Gaza is a larger problem: militant Islam. The greatest danger we face is the joining of a militant Islamic regime with nuclear weapons. It could happen in Iran or Pakistan. It would be a terrible pivot of history. The world’s problems would grow by a thousand fold if these terrorists were to have nuclear weapons given to them or were even to have a nuclear umbrella protecting them. This is the biggest challenge facing Israel AND the new President in the United States.

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