Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon: Iran Must be Forced to Choose Between Nuclear Weapons and Survivability
January 26, 2011
At a seminar hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said that Iran should be forced to choose between the pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and the survivability of the regime.
It is not too late to put the regime in such a dilemma, Yaalon said. This dilemma would be achievable by putting pressure on Iran through political isolation, crippling economic sanctions, moral support for the internal opposition and a credible military option, he said. I am confident Iran will choose the survivability of the regime, he said, referencing Irans two-year suspension of its nuclear activities in 2003 following the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Minister Yaalon added that the sanctions should be imposed as soon as possible and without hesitation, even if it leads to an increase in the price of oil. It is better to have a spike in oil prices now, as a result of sanctions, than to have a spike if Iran is nuclear, gaining hegemony in the Arab peninsula.
Iran is the main generator and instigator of instability in the Middle East, Yaalon stated. While Iranian fingerprints can be identified in any conflict in the region, however, there is a well-known conceptual failure that points to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the core for instability in the Middle East, he said. Because of these conceptual failures, we fail again and again to meet the challenges of the Middle East. If you have the wrong diagnosis, can you have the right prognosis? Yaalon asked.
He also expressed concern about the process of democratization in the region, noting that Hamas used the democratic system to gain power and impose Islamic rule in the Gaza Strip. While democracy is the political system that could bring about stability and tranquility in the long run, it should be reached through education rather than elections, he said.
Minister Yaalon spoke at a special consultation convened by the Conference of Presidents and attended by representatives of its more than 50 national member organizations. The consultation focused on plans to address the threatened Palestinian Authority campaign to delegitimize, isolate and even prosecute Israel in international fora including the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. The participants also discussed educational efforts to explain what is happening in Gaza, including security threats and the rocket fire aimed at civilians in Israels south. The third area of concern is the continuing drive by Iran to achieve nuclear weapon facilities and the need to keep pressure on the regime.
Israels Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor addressed the challenges Israel faces from the international community as well as the demonization and delegitimization campaign against Israel.
There were many excellent ideas proposed by experts and practitioners, said Richard Stone, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, of the Conference of Presidents. This is a critical time and we want to anticipate issues and challenge, rather than reacting afterwards.