Sunday, Feb 1, 2009
Israeli election frontrunner Benjamin Netanyahu says his first mission if elected prime minister would be to ‘thwart the Iranian threat’.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV late Saturday, Netanyahu said he fully intends to sabotage Tehran’s nuclear efforts once and for all.
“[Iran] will not be armed with a nuclear weaponâ€¦ It includes everything that is necessary to make this statement come true,” said Israel’s leading candidate for prime minister.
Israel, the sole nuclear power in the Middle East, accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear weaponry while the UN nuclear watchdog, in its Sept. 15 report on Iran, declared that it could not find any “components of a nuclear weapon” or “related nuclear physics studies” in the country.
Netanyahu, who is currently facing war crime charges in Gaza, claimed the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment is the greatest danger to Israel and humanity.
After weeks of denying that it used illegal weapons in the densely-populated Gaza Strip, the Israeli military finally admitted Friday that it had pounded the Palestinian coast with at least twenty white phosphorus bombs.
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The 1980 third Convention on Conventional Weapons has banned the use of white phosphorus as a weapon, even against military targets situated within population centers.
International attorneys have filed war crime charges against 15 Israeli political and military officials, including Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak.
In the second week of January, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) voted 33-1 to condemn Israel for grave violations of human rights in the Palestinian territory.
With only two weeks to go before the Israeli elections, Israel’s 23-day offensive in Gaza –which killed some 1330 people and injured thousands of others including a large number of women and children– has tipped the balance in favor of Netanyahu.
According to a Maariv poll on Saturday, Netanyahu has scored 28 seats in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, five more than his closest rival, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima Party.
Labour defense minister Ehud Barak, meanwhile, is lagging behind in third despite a 70 percent jump in approval ratings.
The February 10 election will be Israel’s fifth in a decade.
Netanyahu, who opposes Israel-Palestinian peace talks, has repeatedly called for the “mass deportations of Arabs from the territories”, vowing to expand illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank should he make a political comeback.
Jewish settlements are built on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the occupying power from transferring citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory.
A leaked report on Jewish settlements in the West Bank revealed Thursday that the Israeli government was complicit in illegal construction on private land owned by Palestinians.
Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said the confidential information would help Palestinians sue Tel Aviv for “systematically violating international law and the property rights of Palestinian residents.”
This article was posted: Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 5:23 am