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Netanyahu: Israeli Strike on Iran Nuclear Plants will Serve to Calm Mideast

By Ha'aretz

An Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities won't destabilize the Middle East, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview to a French magazine on Tuesday, adding, moreover, that such a move would only serve to restore security in the region.

"Five minutes after [an attack], contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief will spread across the region," Netanyahu told Paris Match, adding: "Iran isn't popular in the Arab world, far from it. Some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear-armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel." The premier's interview, one to which he gave much importance, was geared at influencing public opinion in France ahead of his visit to the country on Wednesday.

So important was the interview, in fact, that the Prime Minister's Office asked Israel's Embassy in Paris to obtain several copies in advance, thus allowing the PM to take the article with him to some of his meetings in France, as well as to bring hard copies of the interview with him when he returned to Israel.

However, despite Netanyahu's assertive rhetoric on the Iranian issue, his visit to Paris was mainly meant as an election season photo-op. Already in his address to the UN late last month, Netanyahu said that there wasn't a need to reach a decision on the Iranian issue until next summer, a fact that characterizes the comments during his interview to Paris Match as attempts at diplomatic leverage and campaign propaganda. While in Paris, The premier is expected to meet French President Francoise Hollande, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

On Thursday, Netanyahu plans to attend a memorial service at Ohr Torah (previously known as Ozar Hatorah) Jewish school in Toulouse, where a teacher and three children were killed in an attack earlier this year.

Netanyahu is interesting in leveraging the visit to France in order to prove to Israeli voters that his cabinet's foreign policy did not lead to Israel's isolation in the international community, and that he was welcomed the Western capitals with red carpets and embraces. In addition, the premier will try to use his meeting with Hollande to turn over a new leaf in Israel's relations with France, an attempt to cover up his shaky ties to former French President Nikola Sarkozy, who, at one time, called the Israeli PM "a liar."

Barak: Israel Almost Attacked Iran 8 Months Ago

By Israel National News

In an interview Tuesday with the Daily Telegraph, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel almost attacked Iran eight months ago – but that the "moment of truth" was postponed after Iran redirected part of its enriched uranium to civilian uses. Without that decision, a confrontation with Iran would have almost certainly developed, said Barak.

When asked why he thought Iran made this decision, Barak said that there are at least three explanations. One was the public discussion about a possible attack on Iran. It could also be the result of diplomatic pressure not to make things tenser before the U.S. presidential elections. It could also be an attempt by Iran to show the International Atomic Energy Agency that it can comply with international requests when it wishes, Barak added.

When asked about future Israeli plans to attack Iran, Barak said simply that "Israel reserves the right to defend itself, by itself. An action against Iran will be much safer than an attack against an Iran that achieves nuclear capability." Sanctions and diplomatic pressure have not worked, said Barak, and he warned that as a result, Israel and its allies will have to deal with the decision on whether or not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities "in the coming year."

Egyptian Child Preacher Calls for Destruction of Israel

By Israel Hayom and

A child preacher identified as Ibrahim Adham called for the destruction of Israel on the Egyptian Al-Rahma television station this month, according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

"Oh Islamic nation, oh all Muslims ... martyrdom on the path of Allah is a religious duty incumbent upon you, oh believers," the child said. "It is your path for salvation in the eyes of the Lord ... Pray: Oh Allah, destroy Israel. May Jerusalem live on until the Day of Judgment." The child also later referred to "the accursed Sharon, Bush and Obama." A robed man is also seen in the clip, telling the child, "You are such a beautiful boy, by Allah!"

Earlier this month, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a strong condemnation of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, after Morsi attended a sermon where the preacher called for the "destruction and dispersal of the Jews." A video emailed by the center showed Morsi at a mosque in the Mediterranean town of Marsa Matruh, where the congregation, including Morsi, answers "amen" to a cleric who recites a list of prayers in a traditional ritual.

In one of the prayers, the cleric asked God to "destroy the Jews and their supporters and disperse them, rend them asunder." Morsi is then seen continuing to say "amen." The prayers were aired on state TV and caught on video by MEMRI.

And in a related story, a recent photo posted to the official Facebook page of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission in Lebanon shows a mother placing a suicide belt on her young son, reported Palestinian Media Watch, which has documented the ongoing glorification of violence and martyrdom by the Palestinian Authority.

Beside the picture is written an imaginary conversation between the two which reads as follows: "My mother dressed me in a strange belt (i.e., a suicide belt). I asked her: `What is this, mother?' She said: `I will put it on you and you will go to your death!' I said to her: `Mother, what have I done that you want me to die?'

She shed a tear that hurt my heart and said: `The homeland needs you, son. Go and blow up the sons of Zion.' I said to her: `Why me and not you?' She said: `I will stay in order to give birth to more children for the sake of Palestine.' I kissed her hand and said to her: `Keep it up, mother, for you and for Palestine I will kill the impure and the damned.'"

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