The world’s attention lately may be on the crisis in Ukraine, the disappearance of a Malaysian airplane and the controversy surrounding the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, but Israel is “keeping our eye on the ball,” Ambassador Ron Dermer said Sunday. “The greatest danger remains the prospects of a radical ayatollah regime in Iran developing nuclear weapons.”
Speaking in Washington to the annual leadership conference of Israel Bonds, Dermer warned those assembled not to lose sight of the objective in the negotiations with Iran and took an uncompromising position against the new Palestinian technocratic unity government.
Dermer said that despite the fervent support of many in the U.S., Israel today is faced by challenges that are “arguably greater” than any it has faced, with Iran being the primary concern.
“What Iran wants, ladies and gentlemen, is to keep its nuclear weapons capability and to remove the very tough sanctions that have been imposed,” Dermer warned. “The Iranian regime knows that inspectors will not stop them. They know that if they keep their nuclear-weapons making capability intact, eventually they will develop the bomb. That is why the only deal that should be acceptable to the international community is one in which that capability is fully dismantled.”
According to Dermer, this would mean that the U.S. should not accept any deal in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations in Geneva that allows Iran to keep intact its centrifuges, enriched uranium, underground enrichment facilities and heavy water reactors. Dermer’s statements contrast with those of U.S. State Department, which has kept open the possibility of Iran keeping part of its nuclear capabilities under a final agreement.
Dermer also touched on the recently announced unity government within the Palestinian Authority between Fatah and Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the West.
“Israel seeks peace with the Palestinians, but we must have a partner for peace. We now face a Palestinian leader who unfortunately has reached out to an unreformed terror organization that seeks Israel’s destruction; that has fired thousands of rockets at our cities, that has dispatched scores of suicide bombers against our buses and cafes and pizza shops,” said Dermer.
“[It is] an organization that has in its charter a call for the murder of Jews. It’s an organization whose head condemned the United States for killing Osama Bin Laden. That’s Hamas,” he said.
“So we cannot make peace with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas. Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by a terror organization. Period.
Following Dermer’s speech, Israel Bonds president and chief executive officer Izzy Tapoohi and board of directors chairman Richard Hirsch presented awards to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) for their unwavering and bipartisan support of Israel as committee leaders.
[email protected] @dmitriyshapiro
JNS.org contributed to this story.