Israeli rips Europe for Iran ‘appeasement’

Developing nuclear program at issue

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A hard-line Israeli official says European leaders are taking an “approach of appeasement” on Iran’s nuclear program, likening it to infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s diplomacy with Adolf Hitler.

Uzi Landau, Israel’s minister of national infrastructure, said he sees in today’s European leaders’ dealings with Iran a repeat of the weak-willed diplomacy that allowed the Third Reich to annex Germany’s neighbors in the 1930s.

“I do see this approach of appeasement by the Europeans,” Mr. Landau told The Washington Times. “Yes, I do.”

And he warned of future threats abroad by Iran’s leaders, who have called for the eradication of his country. He said that Israel had “failed” to persuade the West that Iran is “not just an Israeli problem.”

Israel is the first stop on their route of destruction, but they look much beyond that,” Mr. Landau said. “They have already now developed ballistic missiles with a range much larger than Israel, to get to Europe, and they will get to the United States, too.

“A country like Iran doesn’t put its limited resource into developing those things that they aren’t going to use.”

On Tuesday, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency issued a report showing that Iran’s nuclear program is geared toward building an atomic weapon. Tehran has vehemently denied it is trying to make nuclear bomb.

Israeli media have reported recently that Israeli officials are considering a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak lobbying other ministers to support such a move.

Mr. Landau, a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s 15-member “security Cabinet” declined to comment on the reported lobbying effort.

He was one of only three ministers who opposed last month’s prisoner swap with Hamas, in which Israel freed 1,027 Palestinians - most convicted of terrorism - in return for Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit.

“We should’ve used different means to free Gilad Schalit,” Mr. Landau said. “There is terrorism because it works.”

He also opposed the 10-month freeze that Mr. Netanyahyu imposed in 2009 on Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

“This belongs to us,” he said of the West Bank. “Why should I give up something that belongs to me? If they have any territorial problems, let’s sit down and negotiate.”

And he accused Palestinian leaders of “racism” for demanding that all Jewish settlers be evicted from the territory of a future Palestinian state.

“If there should be a Palestinian state in the future, I don’t see what problem the communities in [the West Bank] could pose,” Mr. Landau said, citing Israel’s Arab minority. “What problem does anybody see with having 5 percent Jews in a future Palestinian state?”

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About the Author

Ben Birnbaum

Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.

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