Opinion polls suggest that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is well placed to become Israel's next Prime Minister. In an interview for last weekend's Wall Street Journal we learnt a great deal about his views. Here are some key quotes:
"I don't think Israel can accept an Iranian terror base next to its major cities any more than the United States could accept an al Qaeda base next to New York City."
"If we accept the notion that terrorists will have immunity because as they fire on civilians they hide behind civilians, then this tactic will be legitimized and the terrorists will have their greatest victory."
"We grieve for every child, for every innocent civilian that's killed either on our side or on the Palestinian side. The terrorists celebrate such suffering, on our side because they openly say they want to kill us, all of us, and on the Palestinian side because it helps them foster this false symmetry, which is contrary to common decency and international law."
He describes Iran as the "mother regime" of terrorists groups throughout the region and warns against the danger of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons:
"The arming of Iran with nuclear weapons may portend an irreversible process, because these regimes assume a kind of immortality... [This] will pose an existential threat to Israel directly, but also could give a nuclear umbrella to these terrorist bases."
Tom Gross, the former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, tells ConservativeInternational:
“Netanyahu is often wrongly vilified in the British media as being against a two-state solution. In fact he is open to the creation of a Palestinian state but only if it will be a durable state that will live peaceably with Israel. And for this, Netanyahu argues, you can’t simply wave a magic wand at some fancy signing ceremony on the White House lawn and say ‘hey presto’ – which is exactly what leftist politicians tried to do at the Oslo signing ceremony in 1993. First the Palestinians need to do the hard work of building institutions that would allow such a state to succeed – a functioning economy, the rule of law, and so on. And Netanyahu is very willing to offer Israeli assistance in building such mechanisms.”
Israel votes on 10th February.