MK Danny Danon: What Happened with U.S. in Libya is Same as Israel and Palestinians (INTERVIEW Part 2)
One of Israel’s rising political stars, MK Danny Danon is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing Likud party. Visiting the United States to promote his newly published book, Israel: The Will to Prevail, published by Palgrave Macmillan, Danon sat down with The Algemeiner to discuss an array of pressing issues. Subjects covered include President Obama’s relationship with Israel, the Iranian nuclear threat and possible steps that Israel might take, and the recent killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in a violent Islamist attack on the country’s U.S. consulate.
Below is the second installment of the interview focused on the tragedy in Libya and recent changes in the Arab world. Part 1 can be read here.
AJ: This week there is great concern over what took place in Libya recently (the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to the country). Where do you think the so-called “Arab Spring” is headed? There was a recent statement made by an Israeli minister that the Middle East might turn into one big caliphate. Do you think that’s possible?
DD: I’ll tell you what I think, the term “Arab Spring” sounds so romantic, you know, spring is something nice. New life is being born. But what we have today in the Middle East is not really romantic. The radical forces are stepping in, and I think we should watch it very carefully. I’m not optimistic. We’re looking at Egypt; we’re looking at Syria, maybe Jordan in the future. You have to understand that there will not be democracies in those places.
AJ: So what will be the ramifications for Israel? Will defense mechanisms change, infrastructure, contingency plans? How does that play out for Israelis?
DD: It’s not like we lived in a very quiet neighborhood, and now all of a sudden everything changed. We were ready before, and we’ll be ready after.
AJ: But there were some quiet borders which are no longer quiet, Sinai was relatively quiet for many years?
DD: Yes, and I think today we see that the border with Egypt is not quiet because of mistakes we made. We allowed Gaza to become a base for terrorists, an entity for terror because we made a few mistakes. We should not make more mistakes.
AJ: In terms of this specific incident that took place last week, do you think incidents like this will continue? Would you advise the United States to withdraw their diplomats?
DD: I think the American people must understand that we (and our adversaries in the Middle East) are not talking with the same levels of value and reasoning. Take Libya for example. You helped Libya so much, with so much money, and look what’s happening there. The same with us with the Palestinians, we tried so many times and made so many efforts, and we got terror-attacks in return. So I think the people in Washington must understand that there is a different reasoning in the Middle East. It was hard for President Obama. At the beginning he thought, and I also wrote this in my book very directly, that with good will he would reach out his hand and be able to build bridges. But the way it was perceived in the region was that he’s weak, and that actually made the enemies of the U.S. stronger today.
AJ: Do you think that based on what’s happened that there are steps that should be taken?
DD: Well, in Egypt you’re giving them billions of dollars, technology and weapons. The State Department must evaluate its relationship with Egypt today and think twice before they give them ammunition or a budget to buy more ammunition. Now they’re buying submarines from Germany with U.S. taxpayers’ money. I don’t know who will be using the submarines in a few years. Egypt is buying several submarines that can be used against Israel or against U.S. targets in the near future.