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In the wake of last Tuesday's announcement that Israel has launched "Ofek 9", a spy satellite which will, among other things, be able to keep an eye on the expanding Iranian nuclear program, it is clear that Israeli-Iranian tensions have reached an all-time high.
"Leaders of the World Nations,
In the first century CE, the people of Israel saw their temple destroyed by the Romans and in later years many Jews were forced into exile from their homeland. During the years in the Diaspora, we Jews were driven out of country after country and suffered continuing assaults physically and economically as well as on our religion. This culminated in the Nazi plan to destroy the Jewish people, resulting in the horrors of the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews in Europe. We survivors vowed to ourselves and other Jews throughout the world: Never again will we allow such attacks to decimate the Jewish population!
In 1948, this body voted to establish a Jewish homeland in our historic land of Israel and the nation of Israel was born. Despite attacks on our fledgling nation in 1948 and wars with the surrounding Arab countries in 1967 and 1973, the Jewish people built a great nation. We made our arid land green by developing advanced agricultural technology that is also helping large parts of the world. Without oil or other natural resources, we developed commerce and industry that created increasing prosperity for our people. We made great contributions in science and health to be shared by the other nations represented here today.
We brought to Israel millions of Jews who were forced to leave Arab lands with nothing but their lives or who left the former Soviet Union and other countries to find a place where they would be treated with dignity and respect. Despite the hardship of absorbing so many people in a small country, we managed to settle them, find them homes and jobs and send their children to school. We promised those new citizens a safe and secure haven in Israel.
During all those years since 1948 we have sought to make peace with our Arab neighbors. Under Prime Minister Menachem Begun, we signed a peace agreement with Egypt at Camp David. We gave back the Sinai Peninsula, even with its valuable property, and moved thousands of our citizens from their homes in settlements.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made peace with King Hussein of Jordan. He signed the Oslo Agreement with Yasser Arafat representing the beginning of a peace process between our two people.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak, with the intense efforts of President Bill Clinton, tried to bring about a peace agreement with the Palestinians at Camp David, but to no avail.
Israel's Camp David proposal, which was never set forth in writing, denied the Palestinian state viability and independence by dividing Palestinian territory into four separate cantons entirely surrounded, and therefore controlled, by Israel. The Camp David proposal also denied Palestinians control over their own borders, airspace and water resources while legitimizing and expanding illegal Israeli colonies in Palestinian territory. Israel's Camp David proposal presented a 're-packaging' of military occupation, not an end to military occupation.
Prime Minister Barak withdrew our troops from Lebanon but that only brought an attack on us from Hezbollah that forced us into a war we did not seek.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulled our troops out of the Gaza Strip, but that resulted in control of Gaza falling into the hands of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has vowed to destroy the state of Israel. That move brought no peace but only multiple attacks and missiles that rained down on our citizens from Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.
Nevertheless, we still support a two state solution with the Palestinians with secure and defensible borders.
The greatest concern to us is the government of Iran, which has vowed to destroy Israel and wipe us from the face of the earth.
Iran is well along in its program of developing nuclear weapons, including missiles that can readily reach our major cities.
The world has attempted to dissuade Iran from this course. It has cajoled and threatened. Under the leadership of the United States, the UN Security Council has imposed ever stronger sanctions against Iran to stop its development of nuclear weapons. But the government of Iran has scoffed at these efforts and committed itself to continue its nuclear program.
In the past, when Arab states that threatened us attempted to develop nuclear weapons, we took action to stop that development. We reserve the right to take action against Iran to bring a halt to its efforts. But more than that, we want to make our position totally clear. Until now, we have followed a policy of what political analysts termed "nuclear ambiguity" about our own capabilities. Now, we are prepared to announce that, in fact, we have a substantial nuclear weapon capability of every size and variety. Israel has committed that we will not be the first nation to use nuclear weapons and we will adhere to that commitment. But we want to make it completely understood by both the government and the people of Iran that a full array of our weapons is pointed at Iran from a multitude of resources. If the Iranians develop nuclear weapons and if any weapon from any source, whether Iran, or its satellites -- Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria or any other source -- strikes any part of our land we will launch a massive attack on Iran. The safest way for Iran to assure that this does not happen is to renounce the development of nuclear weapons and stop their efforts to produce such weapons. But if Iran refuses to halt its nuclear weapon development, we will hold it responsible for the use of any nuclear weapons against the state of Israel. We understand the gravity of what we are announcing today. We are sad that at this time in our history we still must take such a course. Yet, our land is a center of the Jewish people, their culture and their heritage. This time, we are publicly avowing before the whole world of nations that never again will we allow any nation or group to threaten the survival of our people without paying the maximum penalty of its own survival. Thank you."
Israel is clearly in the wrong and, according to the Petraeus briefing, it is hurting American foreign policy in the region. In fact, Israel is doubly wrong: its non-stop lobbying for war with Iran is also exceedingly dangerous (the US Joint Chiefs of Staff have unanimously counseled against war with Iran). The fact that David Petraeus, a hero to many on the right, is concerned about Israel's intransigence should give AIPAC and the neocons pause. It won't, but it should.