Thursday, May 28
Latest News
  1. EU asks member states to admit 40,000 asylum seekers
  2. Official: Bangladesh plans to move thousands of Rohingya to island
  3. Iraq forces in Anbar push, stir over operation codename
  4. Brother urges Iran to free reporter held on 'laughable' charges
  5. Yemeni pleads guilty in New York to Al-Qaeda conspiracy
  6. UN seeks new date for Yemen talks
  7. Draft bill on transsexuals sent to Iran parliament
  8. EU to unveil latest plan to absorb migrants fairly
  9. Spokesman: Libya PM escapes assassination attempt
  10. AFP: Multiple explosions, gunfire in Kabul diplomatic area
  11. Govt: Kabul gunbattle ends with four attackers killed
  12. Turkey says training of moderate Syrian rebels begins with US
  13. Pro-government fighters push rebels out of Yemen city
  14. Police: suspected Fulani herdsmen kill at least 23 in central Nigeria
  15. Obama: Russia adopting 'increasingly aggressive posture' in Ukraine
  16. Washington Post reporter stands trial in Iran for spying
  17. Austrian 14-year-old jailed on 'terrorism' charges
  18. Saudi beheads 88th person, exceeding last year's total
  19. Charter buys US giant Time Warner Cable in $78.7 billion deal
  20. Diplomat: France suspends security cooperation with Burundi

Netanyahu visits Ariel University on campaign trail

Jan. 8, 2013 7:12 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2013 5:29 A.M.)
By: Jeffrey Heller
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- It's Bibi against the world on a campaign trail that took the combative Israeli prime minister to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

Enjoying a wide opinion poll lead before a Jan. 22 election, Benjamin Netanyahu has been lecturing the international community - vocal in its criticism of settlement expansion on occupied territory and his hints of military action against Iran - about what it should really be worried about.

The right-wing candidate, known by his childhood nickname "Bibi", has been striving in campaign appearances to strike a common chord in a country where a song titled, "The whole world is against us", was once a hit.

"The great danger to the world is not from Jews building in our ancestral capital in Jerusalem, it's from nuclear weapons in Iran," Netanyahu said on Monday in a speech in the holy city, to which both Israel and the Palestinians stake claims.

A day later, he traveled to Ariel, a major Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, where his government's granting of university status to a college last month drew international condemnation.

Tweaking his message to match the locality, Netanyahu said: "The danger to the world is not from the university in Ariel or Israeli construction in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The danger comes from Iran, which is building nuclear weapons."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy only.

Netanyahu has long been at odds with even Israel's closest Western allies over settlement building in the West Bank, territory captured in a 1967 war.

His tough talk on Iran, hinting heavily that Israel might attack its nuclear facilities unilaterally unless international sanctions persuade Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, has raised the alarm in world capitals.

Chemical weapons

The civil war in nearby Syria and Israeli fears that Syrian chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist rebels also figure high on Netanyahu's campaign list of eye-openers for foreign leaders.

"I call on the world to wake up. History will judge severely those who equate democratic Israel, which is establishing a university (in Ariel), to those tyrannical regimes slaughtering their countrymen and possessing weapons of mass destruction," he said during his visit to the settlement.

Running under the campaign slogan, "A strong prime minister, a strong Israel", Netanyahu's Likud party, allied in the election with the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu faction, has lost some ground to a start-up far-right party led by high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett.

But opinion polls still count Netanyahu as a shoo-in to enlist right-wing parties after the vote and form the next coalition government. In Israel, no single party has ever won a parliamentary majority.

Bennett, a former settler leader, opposes a Palestinian state and wants to annex about 60 percent of the West Bank.

Netanyahu is still formally committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a peace deal with Israel, while raising conditions - many of them already rejected by the Palestinians - for its creation.

But he has been making clear to voters that he intends to plough ahead with settlement construction, suggesting it is a sacred duty.

"We remain loyal to our homeland will continue to protect our citizens, develop our country and build in our land," Netanyahu said in Ariel.

"With God's help, we will build and we will succeed."
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015