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January 28, 2019 4:39 pm

Rivlin: Israel ‘Strong and Resilient’ in Face of Iran Threat

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo: Mark Neyman / GPO / via Wikimedia Commons.

Iran will continue to intensify its fight against the Jewish state, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned on Monday.

Speaking at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, Rivlin stated, “I would choose two words to describe Israel’s strategic position in the near future: escalation and complexity. Escalation and intensification on one hand, complications and growing complexity on the other.”

The escalation, according to Rivlin, will come from Iran. “There are those who think that Iran’s regional plans have been halted or have been altered by Israeli action,” he said. “There are those who see escalation in the level of conflict and, in any case, Iran — I believe — will respond more forcefully to Israeli policy in the north, both in Syria and in Lebanon.”

“The Iranian challenge is not to our north but in the sphere of international diplomacy,” Rivlin explained, before noting, “I feel that the Europeans are getting closer to Israel’s view of the situation regarding the dangers emanating from the Iranian regime.”

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Addressing the conflict with the Palestinians, Rivlin said, “The Gaza Strip is still bubbling, the humanitarian situation there is grave and it is fueled by the politics of hatred and division, both internal Palestinian and against Israel. We have the internal Palestinian conflict between Hamas and Fatah and the decision of Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] to impose heavy sanctions on Gaza. All these push us to make decisions which are the lesser of two evils.”

“The Israeli security establishment believes that a military solution alone cannot bring a long-term improvement to the situation in Gaza,” he added. “It is the combination of military force, a policy of partial containment, and Israeli-Egyptian diplomacy that has been successful. But the Israeli public, it would appear, finds it hard to accept that containment, particularly when its consequences make life hard in the area of Israel contiguous to Gaza.”

“In my view, not only will the complexity regarding Hamas and Gaza not disappear, but the spirit of Hamas and its people is spreading in a worrying way into Judea and Samaria,” the president said. “If Hamas and its way were once considered a problem and a threat by the Palestinian leadership, today parts of the population and parts of the official Palestinian leadership see Hamas’s way as the solution. This new trend has begun to create real complexity for Israel.”

“Israel is strong and resilient at the moment,” Rivlin emphasized. “Those on the left and on the right who claim that faced with complexity and escalation Israel stands defenseless and passive are wrong and mislead us. We are not passive. We respond with sensitivity, with wisdom, with force, with lethality, to external threats and internal challenges. But it seems that today’s responses are not enough. We must take the initiative.”

“From the inception of Zionism until today, an Israel that initiates is an Israel that is victorious,” he concluded. “Now is the time to initiate; now is the time for victory.”

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