(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

Iran, Party Politics and E.U Perfidy

Senior Kadima Politician: 'Shaul Mofaz Has Disqualified Himself From Ever Becoming Prime Minister Of Israel'

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai: 'Mofaz Is Irresponsible Playing Party Politics With Israel's National Security'

Stanley Weiss: 'The European Union Remains Iran's Largest Trading Partner With Some $22 billion In Annual Trade'

Shaul Mofaz

Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz started a firestorm at home and abroad when he declared that Israel would attack Iran if it continued its nuclear weapons program. Mofaz contravened standing Israeli policy that a nuclear Iran should be viewed primarily as a threat to the entire international community. Although Mofaz was speaking out of turn and without cabinet approval, IsraCast says the affair focuses attention on the fact that the international sanctions campaign against Iran is being side-stepped not only by Russia and China but also by the European Union.

'Shaul Mofaz has disqualified himself from ever becoming prime minister of Israel' - that was the reaction of one irate Kadima politician who asked to remain anonymous. Mofaz shocked Israel when he declared publicly on his own volition: 'If Iran continues her programs for developing nuclear weapons, then we will attack her!' Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai accused Mofaz 'of playing party politics at the expense of Israel's national security'. As a matter of fact, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has recently said: 'The last thing Israel needs right now is sabre-rattling with Iran'. A Defense Ministry source also called Mofaz 'irresponsible'.

Ehud Olmert

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has just returned from Washington where he and President George Bush apparently agreed on trying to intensify the international sanctions against Iran. This is in line with Israeli game plan of presenting a nuclear Iran as a threat to the entire international community and not just Israel.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington:

The Mofaz statement has pulled the rug out of this approach and placed the Jewish state as number one on Iran's hit list, if it wasn't already. It also weakens the case for tougher international sanctions against Tehran if Israel has 'volunteered' to make this an Iranian-Israeli confrontation rather than a global issue. So, why did Mofaz a former IDF Chief of Staff and defense minister, who knows the implications better than most, make such an outrageous statement at this time? Everyone agrees that Mofaz was trying to boost his image in the race for Kadima party leadership, if Prime Minister Minister Olmert forced to resign because of the police inquiry into financial corruption. But at this point, Mofaz has apparently shot himself in the foot not only in the ruling party but also with the Israeli public at large.

The Iranian Missile Range

Israeli officials have reacted by saying that Mofaz was expressing his private views and there is no change in Israel's policy that it's the international community that must act to halt Iran's nuclear program. Mofaz, who heads the Israeli team to the U.S. strategic dialogue with the U.S., also said that it would be difficult for Israel to go it alone against Iran without 'America's consent and support'. On the face of it if Mofaz has gone public on such sensitive issues it would indicate that as far as he is concerned Israel has no such deal with Washington. If there were they would be top secret and Mofaz would not be referring to them at all. On the other hand, what went on in the one-on-one meeting between Bush and Olmert in the White House? But the question to be asked now is if Mofaz is such 'a loose cannon on the deck' should Olmert leave him in charge of the strategic dialogue with Iran at the top of the agenda? But that is a moot question in light of Olmert's need for all the support he can get in Kadima these days. It does reflect the slide in the prime minister's status if his ministers are popping off as they see fit about going to war with Iran.

One additional point - Mofaz adopted the Bush doctrine on preemptive action against weapons of mass destruction - 'If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long'. Mofaz is not the only cabinet minister to speak out after President Ahmadinejad's latest threat in Rome where he vowed that Israel's ' days were numbered '. Cabinet minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer of Labor retorted: 'Since Ahmadinejad took power not a day passes that he does not deny the Holocaust or promise to wipe Israel off the map. He should know that if he ever dreams of destroying Israel nothing will remain of Iran before he wakes up from that dream'. But Ben Eliezer was referring to an Israeli retaliation to an Iranian attack and not a preemptive strike.

In any case, Mofaz did have a point in saying the international sanctions against Iran have failed abysmally. The international community has agreed only to pay lip service. Stanley A. Wiess the founding chairman of Business Executives for National Security in Washington has documented what has been going on in an article entitled: 'Wielding a small stick'. He notes that it's not only Russia, China and India that have signed energy mega-deals that help prop up the bankrupt Iranian regime.

France: Nicolas Sarkozy says a nuclear Iran is 'unacceptable' and has warned French companies against doing business in the Islamic Republic. But those companies have invested tens of billions of dollars in Iran and the energy giant Total continues to consider a multi-billion dollar deal in Iran.

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to take 'another look' at trade with Iran. But even as Berlin has cut export credits, some 1,700 German companies sustain a $5 billion trade relationship with Iran.

Britain: Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Tehran shouldn't doubt 'the seriousness of our purpose'. Meanwhile, London offers export credits that support more than $1 billion in annual British-Iranian trade.

Italy: With the return of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy wants to join nuclear talks with Tehran while protecting its $ 7 billion trade relationship which makes it Iran's biggest European trading partner.

Adding up the figures, Weiss writes that the European Union remains Iran's largest trading partner, with some $22 billion in annual trade. His conclusion: 'Europe's new leaders may speak loudly, but when it comes to Iran, they still carry a small stick - or no stick at all'.

David Essing

Back To The Top