Iranian leader reiterates threat to wipe Israel off the map, while Israelis prepare for a war many of them now feel cannot be avoided
Sunday, August 19, 2012 | Ryan Jones – israeltoday.co.il
For the umpteenth time, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday publicly declared that the primary foreign policy goal of his government is to see the Jewish state erased from the map of the Middle East.
“The Zionist regime [is] a cancerous tumor,” Ahmadinejad told millions who took to the streets of Tehran to mark Iran’s Quds Day, an angry commemoration of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.
The Iranian leader continued:
“Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel’s existence) will repeat. The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land… A new Middle East will definitely be formed.”
With Iran’s increasing belligerence, and intelligence reports warning that the Islamic Republic is moving ever closer to attaining nuclear weapons, Israelis are becoming ever more fearful that war will soon be upon them.
Israel’s leaders remain divided over whether or not to launch a preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Some argue that such a strike can at best only delay Iran’s nuclear arms program, while others say that is enough, and indeed was all that was needed when Israel attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.
Others worry that launching an attack without America’s prior approval or support would cause rifts between Israel and her greatest ally. But Israeli Ambassador to America Michael Oren told Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom at the weekend that no such rift would form.
“If Israel eventually decides to act against Iran, we will gain widespread support from the American pubic and the American Congress,” which would compel the Obama White House to also support Israel, said Oren.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 2 News conducted a very special pre-Shabbat interview with an Iranian woman calling from Tehran on Friday.
Identified as “Shaharanz,” a fake name used for her own safety, the woman told her Israeli interviewer that Iranians are also scared, mostly of their own regime.
Speaking in Farsi, Shaharanz said that most of the millions who had taken to the streets calling for Israel’s destruction “have no idea what Quds Day even is.” She explained that Iranians are force-fed highly tainted news by their regime, to the point that many don’t even realize there was a major earthquake in Iran last week.
“People believe what they are told,” Shaharanz lamented, stating that government authorities regularly fill the Iranian people’s heads with “senseless hatred of Israel.”
Israel and Iran were once close regional allies, before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Many Israelis and Iranian still remember fondly the days of warm relations, and, like Shaharanz, have no doubt those ties could be easily renewed given different national leadership.