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March 4, 2013 1:50 pm

Netanyahu to AIPAC: “Words Alone Will Not Stop Iran”

avatar by Zach Pontz

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at AIPAC 2013 Policy Conference. Photo: Arsen Ostrovsky.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu capped the morning’s plenary session on AIPAC’s second day by reconfirming his commitment to stopping Iran from acquiring the capability to build a nuclear weapon.

Speaking via video link from Jerusalem he warned that the Islamic Republic “has still not crossed the red line I drew at the United Nations last September, but it is putting itself in a position to cross that line very quickly. We can’t allow Iran to cross that red line.”

On the issue of sanctions Netanyahu agreed that they were crippling Iran’s economy but said that it wasn’t dissuading Iran’s leaders from “gritting their teeth and moving forward” with its nuclear weapons program. He was as equally skeptical of diplomatic efforts: “Words alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions will not stop Iran. They must be coupled with a clear military threat.”

Netanyahu apologized for not being able to attend the conference in person, saying that he had important business to take care of—such as forming a new government. This earned laughter and applause from the audience, but the speech took a more serious tone as Netanyahu addressed U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel later this month.

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“The first thing my new government will do is to warmly welcome President Obama to Israel,” he said.

“The president and I agreed to focus our discussions on three main issues” Iran, Syria and peace with the Palestinians, which he said Israel “desperately wants” but that won’t come at a cost to Israel’s security. “It must be a defensible peace, in this neighborhood a peace you can’t defend will not hold for 5 minutes.”

“We pulled out of Lebanon and out of Gaza and we got terror,” Netanyahu stated. “We can’t allow that to happen a third time.”

As well as the Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s civil war has presented a new problem: the possibility that chemical and biological weapons will end up in the hands of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. “They are like a pack of hyenas feeding off a carcass,” he said, referring to the terror groups that have begun to swarm around weapons caches in Syria, “and the carcass isn’t even dead yet.” He said that Israel will remain vigilant but didn’t mince words. “The danger of these  weapons falling into the hands of terrorists groups is real.”

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