Vice Premier Silvan Shalom says Middle East is the most important region in the world.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/7/2011, 8:40 PM / Last Update: 2/7/2011, 8:47 PM
Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom said Monday that "The war these days is between blocs - the Western bloc versus the Iranian bloc."
Shalom spoke at the annual conference of European Friends of Israel (EFI), a lobby group established in 2006 by European parliamentarians, for "forging a stronger political relationship and a deeper understanding between Europe and Israel."
"The Middle East is the most important place in the world," Shalom said, "since it is a gateway between Africa, Asia and Europe, with importance for security, and supreme importance for economy, seeing as this is where the world's oil reserves are located."
"Israel is following the developments around it in the past weeks," Shalom went on. "Contrary to the popular notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the source of instability in the Middle East, it is now clear to all that this is not so. The destabilization of regimes around us has raised questions among the Arab nations regarding the West's attitude toward them. In the past, Arab countries knew that support for and closeness to Israel would improve their standing in the West, but today it has become clear to them that there is no guarantee of this."
Regarding claims that Hizbullah is a political party, Shalom repeated the observation he recently made on his YouTube channel that "political parties do not have 50,000 rockets."