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Romney: 'Unacceptable' for Iran to Get Nuclear Weapon

By VOA News, & Ha'aretz

During a visit Sunday to Israel, the man expected to be the Republican Party nominee for U.S. president, Mitt Romney, said it is "unacceptable" for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. It was during an appearance with Israeli President Shimon Peres that Romney made his statement on Iran.

"We are very concerned about the development of nuclear capacity on the part of Iran and feel it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear armed nation. The threat it would pose to Israel, to the region and to the world is incomparable and unacceptable."

The former Massachusetts governor is in the middle of a trip to Britain, Israel and Poland that analysts say is intended in part to demonstrate some expertise in foreign policy. In his public comments in Israel, he did not go as far as his foreign policy adviser Dan Senor, who told reporters that, if elected president, Romney would not try to stop Israel from attacking Iran's nuclear sites.

The candidate declined to repeat that position during an appearance on CBS television, saying he did not want to diverge from official U.S. policy while on a foreign trip. The Obama administration has discouraged any military action against Iran while talks are under way, and Romney appeared to endorse that approach.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful research, but foreign experts believe its uranium-enrichment program is designed to bring it to the brink of a nuclear weapons capability, and some believe it is only a matter of months away from building a nuclear bomb if its leaders want to.

After meeting with Romney earlier in the visit, a friend and former work colleague Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also appeared to indicate he is focused on sanctions and the threat of military action to try to motivate Iran to change its nuclear policy. But Netanyahu added he is not very hopeful that the approach will work.

"We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy, so far, have not set back the Iranian program by one iota. And that is why I believe that we need a strong and credible military threat coupled with the sanctions to have a chance to change that situation."

Romney began his speech by saying that it was "a moving experience to be in Jerusalem -- the capital of Israel," eliciting extended and excited applause from the audience.

In what was seen as a hinted slight to President Barack Obama, Romney said, "It is sometimes said that those who are the most committed to stopping the Iranian regime from securing nuclear weapons are reckless and provocative and inviting war. The opposite is true. We are the true peacemakers," he said.

Speaking in Jerusalem against the backdrop of the Old City, Romney said: "History teaches with force and clarity that when the world's most despotic regimes secure the world's most destructive weapons, peace often gives way to oppression, to violence, or to devastating war… We must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability… We recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with you."

"The Jewish nation persisted through one of the most monstrous crimes in human history," Romney went on. "And now this nation has come to take its place among the most impressive democracies on earth. Israel's achievements are a wonder of the modern world. These achievements are a tribute to the resilience of the Israeli people. You've managed against all odds, time and again throughout your history, to persevere, to rise up and emerge stronger."

He drew applause when he mentioned the terrorist crime at the Munich Olympics in 1972. "At this time we also remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were massacred at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago," he said. "And 10 years ago this week, nine Israeli and American students were murdered in a terrorist attack at Hebrew University."

"Tragedies like these are not reserved to the past. They are a constant reminder of the reality of hate and the will with which that hate is executed upon the innocent. When Iran's leaders deny the Holocaust or speak of wiping this nation off the map, only the naïve, or worse, would dismiss it as an excess of rhetoric. Make no mistake: the ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. My message to the people of Israel and to the leaders of Tehran is one and the same: we will not look away. Nor will my country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.

"We should stand with all who would join our effort to prevent a nuclear armed Iran. And that includes Iranian dissidents. Don't erase from your memory the scenes from three years ago, when that regime brought to death its own people, as they rose up. The threat we face does not come from the Iranian people but from the regime that oppresses them."

Romney's staff picked the 150 guests carefully. Religious American immigrants dominated the crowd; secular Jews and native-born Israelis were few and far between. Those present included Jewish-American millionaires, settler leaders like the former chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements Israel Harel, and former Netanyahu aides such as Dore Gold, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Yoaz Hendel.

The best places at the center of the first row were given, as expected, to Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. The casino magnate and owners of the Yisrael Hayom newspaper is considered one of the strongest supporters of Netanyahu. The $100 million that Adelson pledged to donate to Romney in order to get Obama out of the White House is the oil in the wheels of Romney's election campaign.

Romney gave his speech in Jerusalem's Mishkenot Sha'ananim at sunset, with the walls of Jerusalem's Old City behind him. Jerusalem's Mayor, Nir Barkat, who greeted Romney, was involved no less than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in helping Romney's staff organize the event.

Romney read his speech from two teleprompters that were placed opposite the stage, but compared to Obama, Romney seemed gray and uncharismatic. Even from this hand-picked, extremely friendly audience, he wasn't able to extract thunderous applause.

The speech itself sounded as if it could have been written by Netanyahu's bureau. So it's no surprise that when the two met later for dinner, Netanyahu thanked him for his "support for Israel and Jerusalem."

In general, Netanyahu embraced Romney as no Israeli prime minister has ever before embraced a candidate running against an incumbent U.S. president: Aside from their working meeting in the morning, Netanyahu also hosted Romney and his wife and sons for dinner at his official residence.

U.S. 'Convinced' Israel Set to Pounce on Iran


Israel television's Channel 2 veteran Middle East analyst Ehud Yaari, who is back from a trip to the U.S., said Friday night that an Israeli attack on Iran can be expected in October.

"I will give you an impression," he told anchorman Danny Kushmaro on Channel 2 TV's Ulpan Shishi, "and this is just an impression, but it is a strong impression, after conversations with the people one needs to talk with about this matter. My impression is that the Americans are convinced that there is very high chance that Israel will decide to attack in Iran before the elections in the U.S.

"The date that they are talking about – they say that the prime minister will have to make a decision around October. They are getting ready for a possibility like that in the sense that they have to decide what they will do if there is one response or another by Iran, in the follow-up stage. But when you talk to them, they talk about [an Israeli strike] almost as a given – as a clear, unassailable fact."

Sinai Terrorists Planned Mass Slaughter


Terrorists who attacked workers at the Sinai border fence, murdering one, had hoped to infiltrate Israel and slaughter Jewish families. The terror group had already picked its target: the town of Nitzana, near the Israel-Egypt border.

The Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group behind the June 18 attack revealed its full plan in a video published online. The video includes footage of the preparation for the attack. Two terrorists are seen training in the desert. Others seek out a site to attack.

Commanders tell the terrorists to break through the fence, fire two counter-tank missiles at the IDF vehicles at the scene, and reach the nearby town of Nitzana. There, they were to murder as many residents of the town as they were able.

Nitzana is home to 50 families. Several youth programs operate in the town, including two Hebrew-language learning programs for young immigrants to Israel.

The terrorists launched their attack on June 18. They murdered Israeli-Arab Said Fachachte who was working on the border fence, but failed to infiltrate Israel.

U.S. Defense Law to Equip Israel with Refueling Jets


President Barack Obama's well-publicized signing of a bill aiming to enhance security cooperation between the US and Israel appears to have been timed to upstage Republican challenger Mitt Romney's trip to Israel, but officials say the measure was more than just a strategic photo op.

"This was a historical landmark in the defense relations between the US and Israel," said Amos Gilad, the director of policy and political-military affairs at the Defense Ministry.

The legislation, known as the "United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012," allows Israel to purchase American KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft for the first time. Thus far, the Bush and Obama administrations refused to sell planes of this kind to the Jewish state, primarily in order to bar it from launching a massive aerial strike on Iran.

In all likelihood, such a military operation would involve F-15I and F-16I fighter jets, as well as helicopters, all of which will have to refuel on their way to the Islamic Republic, and on the return trip. Mid-air refueling capabilities are therefore essential for the mission.

So far, Israel has had to buy used commercial Boeing 707 airliners and convert them into tanker jets, a far from ideal solution considering the planes were originally designed for passenger flights. Just last week an accident occurred during an exercise involving such aircraft.

But the road between the ratification of the legislation and an actual deal to buy or lease such planes is still long; it could be years before Israel gets its hands on such equipment. Nevertheless, the law has been put in place, and now the time has come to find funding and agree on the technical details.

The legislation, which provides for special aerial armament, is also likely to allow Israel to acquire bunker buster bombs, a privilege previously denied by the Bush Administration. Israel has also asked for cruise missiles, but as of yet it remains unclear whether this request will be granted. Moreover, the bill does not explicitly address Jerusalem's request for satellite technology that can be used for intelligence purposes and to obtain real time missile warnings.

The law essentially requires the current administration and the next one to provide Israel with weapons systems, intelligence data and logistical aid. Every six months, the leaders in the US will have to report to Congress about the steps they have taken to implement the legislation.

The legislation, which was passed by a solid majority in both houses of Congress, specifies what the US government must do to in order to put the United States' commitment to Israel's security into practice. It explicitly asserts that the US must maintain Israel's qualitative advantage in the military field, and especially when it comes to military technology.

On Friday, during the bill's signing in Washington, Obama announced that he is adding $70 million to bolster the production of Iron Dome batteries.

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