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Strike in Iran Would Benefit the Arab World, Says Netanyahu

Striking Iran would bring "a feeling of relief" throughout the region, including the Arab world, Netanyahu tells a French magazine.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/31/2012, 5:13 AM

PM Binyamin Netanyahu
PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A military strike on Iran would benefit the Arab world, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a French magazine.

In an interview with Paris Match, excerpts of which were published on Tuesday ahead of his visit to France, Netanyahu said, “Five minutes after [the strike], contrary to what skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region.”

“Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and 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,” he added.

Netanyahu will travel to France on Wednesday for talks with President Francois Hollande, with the Iranian nuclear threat topping the agenda.

On Thursday, Netanyahu will travel to Toulouse to attend a memorial ceremony for three children and a French-Israeli teacher who were murdered by a terrorist at the Otzar Hatorah Jewish school last March.

Netanyahu told Paris Match that he is going to Toulouse “to express my solidarity with the victims of terrorism, Jewish or not, and call for action against terrorists and the states that support them.”

Asked whether he would advise the Jews to leave France in the wake of recent anti-Semitic attacks in the country, he said, “The French government is committed to fighting anti-Semitism. [President] Francois Hollande has assured me of this, as did his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. French leaders have understood that this fight is not only important for the Jewish citizens of France, but also for France itself. As Prime Minister of Israel, I certainly wish that every Jew were back here, at home, on his own land.”

France has seen a surge of 45% in the number of anti-Semitic incidents over the past year. Data released several weeks ago found that the anti-Semitic incidents increased after the massacre in Toulouse.

Netanyahu told the magazine that it is very difficult to talk peace “when the Palestinians refuse to sit at a table to negotiate without preconditions. I offered to go see PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, but he declined. I hope he will change his mind, because it is in their interest as well as in ours.”

He reiterated that “Jerusalem is not occupied territory. United Jerusalem has been, for three thousand years, the capital of the Jewish people and we are determined to ensure that it remains so.”