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The Ex-Prime Ministers? Club to Meet to Discuss Iranian Threat

A new forum organized by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to meet for the first time on Monday: The Prime Ministers’ Club. The first topic on the agenda: Iran.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/19/2006, 12:43 PM / Last Update: 6/18/2006, 10:04 PM

Three of the five living ex-prime ministers will meet with Olmert to discuss the issue of Iran’s nuclear development program and how best to deal with the looming threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Opposition leader and Likud MK Binyamin Netanyahu, Vice-Premier and Kadima MK Shimon Peres and former Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak will join Olmert at the table. Ariel Sharon, comatose since January after suffering a massive stroke, and 90-year-old Yitzchak Shamir and in ill health, will not be present.

Netanyahu said the idea of such a forum made sense since each of the former prime ministers had dealt with Iran in different ways over the years. The club, which is expected to meet regularly, will provide a forum in which to discuss other sensitive security issues as well.

Knesset Member Efffie Eitam(NU/NRP) said, during a tour of the northern border, that the threat posed by Iran is closer than most people realize. “Iran is already here, in the State of Israel’s backyard, and when we weigh our relations with them and with Hizbullah, we must realize that this is not simply a lone terror organization, but the creation of a significant system,” he said.

Members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee heard briefings on Sunday by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinksy and Northern Command Chief Gen. Udi Adam. The defense officials updated the Knesset members on the security situation on the border with Lebanon and Syria.