Minister Binyamin Netanyahu brought 14,000 pro-Israel lobby cheering delegates to their feet repeatedly – especially when he pledged Monday night, March 5, “Never again will our people have to live in the shadow of annihilation.”
Earlier, he and US President Barack Obama took a break from rhetoric and used a brief private interlude during their three-hour long meeting attended by advisers to get down to brass tacks in their argument over how and when to arrest Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon.
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources disclose a couple of their comments.
While publicly reiterating that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution of the issue, Obama admitted privately to Netanyahu that the Fordow underground uranium enrichment plant can no longer be destroyed by bombs and missiles; American commanders say all that can be done is to block the vents of this underground facility and slowly stifle the personnel inside. Time and several strikes would be needed to accomplish this.
Netanyahu: Iran is building not one Fordow but ten. We can’t wait much longer.
In other words, the talk of open windows and more time is moot.
Obama: There is no intelligence that Iran has made a final decision to pursue a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu: Time is growing short.
DEBKAfile’s Washington source denied media reports that the prime minister had assured the president that Israel has not yet decided to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, meaning he had offered the president the time he wanted for diplomacy and sanctions to work.
Our sources report, to the contrary, that he insisted Israel is operating on a shorter timeline than the United States.
Then, in his speech to AIPAC, he set the record straight by declaring Israel can’t afford to wait much longer” and lauded the president for affirming Israel was entitled to “defend itself, by itself.”
How much is “much longer” is the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: Israel won’t wait beyond 2012 or until after the US presidential election in November.
“Israel has waited six years for sanctions to stop Iran,” he told the AIPAC audience, but they have failed.
He produced two documents dated 1944 in reply to the widely-reported view that Israel is short of the capacity to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and an attack would cause disastrous consequences for the region and the world.
One document was a World Jewish Congress plea to the US State Department for the Americans to bomb the Auschwitz death camp. The second was a rejection of the WJC’s appeal, explaining that diverting large-scale air power from America’s primary front would bring forth “even more vindictive action from the Germans.”
Netanyahu drew loud cheers when he declared, “As Israeli Prime Minister I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation! Never again!”
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington did not resolve Israel’s differences with the Obama administration on if, when and by whom military force should be applied to shutting down a nuclear Iran.
Therefore, no joint communiqué or statement followed their White House meeting, which was also attended by White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and the prime minister’s security adviser Yaakov Amidror.
But he made a powerful address to American Jews to rally them behind his conviction that a nuclear weapon in Iran’s hands imperils not just Israel’s survival but, if it is not preempted, would allow Tehran to use it in one form or another to as a weapon of terror against every nation in the world. An Israeli attack on Iran is therefore to be expected at some time in the coming months.
Before winding up his five days in the US and Canada, Netanyahu is meeting House Speaker John Boehner and other Congressional leaders in a bid for support for his strategy for a nuclear Iran.