Jpost.com – June 21, 2011
Iran must not be allowed to develop its nuclear program, Quartet envoy Tony Blair said Tuesday during a panel discussion as part of the three-day Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
“If we allow Iran to develop nuclear capabilities, there will be consequence, therefore we must not let that happen,” Blair said.
During the panel discussion entitled, “Nation, Interests and Ethics in the Journey Toward Tomorrow,” Blair said he sees Israel as a model for the region.
“Through it’s belief in the creativity and endeavor of the human spirit, Israel can be seen for what it is as a country of hope and human values,” he said.
Commenting on moral decisions that leaders must take, Blair said “If we fail to intervene where people are being killed, that is a decision that has consequences,” and gave Sierra Leone as an example.
“I believe that today more than ever before, because the world is interconnected, we have an interest in promoting the values that we believe in.”
Israeli author Amos Oz, who also spoke at the panel discussion, began by saying that he hope’s next year’s Presidential Conference “will be overshadowed by news of a peace treaty being signed by Israel and the Palestinians.”
Like Blair, Oz also spoke about moral dilemmas, saying “Here is an Israeli moral dilemma. What do you do when your neighbor from across the street sits on his balcony, puts a child on his lap, and starts shooting at you from above?
“This is called on Hamas here,” the author said. “I believe that moral choices are not black and white.”
Oz also commented on the Arab Spring, saying Israel should not be on the side of the “existing tyrannical regime, but on the side of the freedom seekers in the Arab world.”
Other speakers at this year’s President’s Conference will include Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, opposition head Tzipi Livni, former Shas chairman Arye Deri, British Ambassador Matthew Gould, US Ambassador Dan Kurtzer, US diplomat Dennis Ross, hi-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi – and, of course, President Shimon Peres.
Plenary sessions will deal with nations, ethics, trends, challenges, decisions, global perspectives for tomorrow and future media.