Eye on the Middle East

Israel is not worth the price of an atom bomb. That opinion was expressed in an editorial appearing in an Iranian newspaper in response to remarks made by former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani. The editorial implied that destroying Israel was not worth the heavy price Iranians would pay in the international arena if such an attack were launched. The former president had told a “Jerusalem Day” audience on December 14 that the establishment of Israel was “the most hideous historic occurrence in history” and that the Islamic world “will vomit her from its midst” (The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition, January 2).

And just when does Rafsanjani propose to do away with Israel? The day Iran and the Islamic world possess atomic weapons. “On that day,” he told the crowd gathered at the Teheran University stadium, “the strategy of the West will hit a dead end, since a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counterstrike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.”

The terrorist wing of Islam believes that atomic weapons will negate the military supremacy of America and the Western nations, thus allowing Islam to sweep much of the world clean of…“corrupting” ideas about individual freedom, religious liberty, and equal rights.

These remarks by the Iranian ex-president evince three terrible contemporary facts of life. First, Islamic radicals are determined to wipe Israel off the map. Next, these international terrorists have no regard for the lives of the Islamic people they feign to protect and lead since any Israeli counterstrike will cause perhaps millions of Muslim casualties. Third, the terrorist wing of Islam believes that atomic weapons will negate the military supremacy of America and the Western nations, thus allowing Islam to sweep much of the world clean of democracies and their “corrupting” ideas about individual freedom, religious liberty, and equal rights and privileges for all segments of their society.

We would like to think the editorialist for the Islamic paper Noruzpresents the prevailing Iranian opinion and that Mr. Rafsanjani is just another tired old leader taking a page from an obsolete military manual. Every evidence, however, points to the contrary.

That Iran has not decided to take the high road to peace was confirmed on the waters of the Red Sea on January 3. Israeli commandos boarded a ship, the Karine A, owned by Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA) and manned by senior officers of the Palestinian naval police. Israelis discovered that the ship was bound for the PA, loaded with some 50 tons of war materiel valued at between $16.5 and $20 million. Among the enormous cache of weapons were long-range Katyusha rockets, Sagger and LAW antitank missiles, mortars, mines, advanced explosive equipment, sniper rifles, bullets, and much more. Where was the source of this astonishing array of destructive weaponry? Iran.

The interdiction of the Karine A came at a time when President George W. Bush’s emissary, Anthony Zinni, was in the region attempting to forge a cease-fire agreement that would set the stage for peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. The seizure of these war materials, all of which the Palestinians are strictly forbidden to possess based on every existing peace agreement, reveals Arafat’s true intentions and once again makes a sham of his posturing as a champion of peace.

It also confirms that while Iran professes to make overtures of peace to the United States and its allies, it is working on another agenda that has nothing to do with making peace or ending Islamic aggression.

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