Netanyahu in AIPAC speech: Israel cannot afford to wait much longer on Iran

Barak Ravid, Chemi Shalev – Haaretz March 6, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the AIPAC conference in Washington on Monday, called on the international community to acknowledge the fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

“Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons. You see, Iran claims that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical research. Yeah, right,” Netanyahu said.

“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it?  That’s right, it’s a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck and it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck,” he said.

Netanyahu reiterated the fact that Israel reserves its right to protect itself. He added that for Israel all options remain on the table. “I will never gamble with the security of Israel.,” he explained.

Netanyahu warned of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. “A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically increase terrorism by giving terrorists a nuclear umbrella,” he said. “That means that Iran’s terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas will be emboldened to attack America, Israel, and others because they will be backed by a power with atomic weapons.”

Drawing a parallel with arguments against attacking Iran, Netanyahu said the War Department explained that such an operation at Auschwitz could provoke “even more vindictive action by the Germans”.

“Think about that, even more vindictive action than the Holocaust,” Netanyahu said. He dismissed arguments that an attack on Iran would exact too heavy a toll by provoking Iranian retaliation. He held up a copy of a 1944 letter from the U.S. War Department rejecting world Jewish leaders’ entreaties to bomb the Auschwitz death camp because it would be “ineffective” and “might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.”

“My friends, 2012 is not 1944,” Netanyahu said. “Today, we have a state of our own. And the purpose of the Jewish state is to defend Jewish lives and to secure the Jewish future.”

Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House and said that Israel has not made any decision on attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program.

Sources who were briefed on the meeting afterward said Obama and Netanyahu agreed to increase their coordination on Iran. Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz is to visit Washington in two weeks to discuss the issue with U.S. officials.

During their meeting, Obama told Netanyahu that Israel and the United States have an identical goal with regard to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“I have no intention of trying to contain the Iranian issue,” Obama reportedly told Netanyahu.

“I think that there’s time for diplomacy and in any case I am not taking any options off the table, including a military option.”

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