Israel's Danon: Country Will Do 'Whatever it Takes' to Protect Itself

Friday, 31 May 2013 12:17 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Israel's Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon tells Newsmax his country is prepared to do "whatever is necessary" to protect itself from Syria and its Russian-supplied weapons.

He also insists that Israel "cannot allow" Iran to have nuclear weapons and will take action on its own if necessary.

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And he says the so-called Arab Spring should be termed the "Arab Winter" due to the increased power of radical Muslims in the region.

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Danon is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party and author of the book "The Will to Prevail."

Russia has confirmed that it is fulfilling an order for long-range surface-to-air missiles for Syria to serve as a deterrent against foreign military intervention.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Friday, Danon comments: "We are following very carefully what's happening today in Syria and we are disturbed. I do not understand why Russia or any other nation would like to supply more weapons at this stage. It's a pity, but we are following it very carefully and we are ready for every scenario."

Asked if Israel plans to strike at shipments of advanced Russian weapons in Syria, Danon responds: "We have no intention of starting any conflict in the region, but we will do whatever is necessary to protect Israel, and we have proven in the past that we have the capability to defend our people. If we have to do it we will do it."

Danon is concerned that the fight in Syria could blow up into a full-scale regional war.

"Nobody actually knows what will be the outcome in Syria – who will take over, what will be the end of the Assad regime, so we are following it very carefully," he says. "And yes, we feel that the conflict in Syria is moving into Lebanon today and who knows, it can go into other directions as well. That's why all the nations in the area, not only Israel but also Jordan and Turkey, are following very carefully the situation today in Syria."

The Assad regime in Syria is receiving assistance from Iran, whose nuclear program continues running apace.

"You look at what's happening today in the Middle East and you see the hand of Iran all over," Danon says.

"We see it in Lebanon, with the people who are fighting today in Syria, with the people who are fighting in the Sinai Peninsula. We know that Iran is sending weapons to those people and we are worried about that.

"Somebody will have to take action regarding Iran. Israel cannot allow Iran to become nuclear, and I have to mention it's only a matter of time. You can argue whether it's six months or 12 months but we are getting closer to the point where somebody will have to do something."

Asked if Israel might take action on its own against Iran, Danon tells Newsmax: "When we get to the point of a red line, we will have to do whatever necessary to protect our people.

"Iran has a leader full of hatred and he is threatening to annihilate all the Jewish people. We cannot just sit idly by and say, let's wait to see if he's serious or not. That is why when we hear the voices coming from Iran, we cannot ignore them. If the point will come and we feel that the U.S., Europe and all the other nations are ignoring Iran, Israel has the capability to protect itself."

Danon defines that "red line" as when "the Iranians will have the capability of using nuclear technology for military usage. That is a point where we cannot allow it."

Danon is also concerned about the rise of radical jihadist forces in the nations surrounding Israel.

"The rise of radical jihad is a threat not only to Israel," he says.

"Yes, we are on the frontlines but look what's happening in Sweden, in the U.K., in France, in Boston. So we have to realize that there are some forces among radical Muslims who are eager to fight against us, but also against the Christians, and we have to fight them back. If we ignore them, they will attack Israel first, but eventually they will attack the U.S.

"In my book, I say we should not use the term 'Arab Spring' because with spring you think about something which is beautiful. We should call it the Arab Winter. It is not a spring and we are worried about it because we see the presence of the radical forces all over taking action and we cannot ignore them. If you ignore them, they will become stronger."

Secretary Of State John Kerry is seeking to launch a new Israel-Palestinian peace initiative. Asked if Israel believes in a two-state solution, Danon declares: "I am against a two-state solution because I see what's happened today in the Gaza Strip. When we pulled out of Gaza eight years ago, Hamas stepped in and became a terror entity. I do not want to see another terror entity in Judea and Samaria or in our new Palestinian state.

"Today, we understand in Israel that there is no viable partner. With all due respect to all of the great leaders who want to promote peace in the Middle East, you need a partner to promote peace. I do not see a real partner among the Palestinians. Prime Minister Netanyahu said it very clearly: We are willing to negotiate. You are welcome to come and speak with us, but nobody came so far."

Discussing current U.S.-Israel relations, Danon says: "That is the main topic of my book, the relationship between Israel and the U.S. We can see a change. We saw President Obama at the beginning of his first term taking a side with the Palestinians with his Cairo speech where he spoke about going back to the 1967 lines. And we're seeing a shift today towards more of a mediator approach."

Regarding Prime Minister Netanyahu, Danon observes: "What I can tell you from personal experience, it's the hardest position in the world to be the prime minister of Israel.

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"We have a great nation, but the region that we live in is very, very dynamic. So it's a very demanding position and he is doing the best to protect Israel.

"We invest a lot of time on security issues and unfortunately also a lot of money, but Prime Minister Netanyahu has support from the Israeli people and that's what counts. We need to do what is good for Israel and not try to satisfy anybody else, including people in Washington or in Europe."


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