A Talk with Israel's Ambassador

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CBNNews.com - CBN News recently sat down with Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, at CBN News's Washington, D.C. bureau to discuss the gathering dangers Israel is facing as it prepares to elect a new government. Among other topics, we addressed Hamas, the possibilities of a peace deal with Syria, and the country Israel refers to as the greatest threat to its security: Iran.

We began with Gaza and the state of Hamas in the wake of Israeli Defense Forces' recent operation to halt rocket attacks against southern Israel.

"They have been very significantly weakened," Meridor said of Hamas. "Much of their infrastructure has been destroyed. Much of their production capacity of terror weaponry has been destroyed, and many of their people have been hit."

He added: "What we were looking for was trying to create a level of deterrence, which would make them think twice before they go back to firing rockets day in, day out at our civilian population."

But terrorists have continued to fire rockets into southern israel, including two on Sunday. Meridor says there is a larger hand behind the attacks.

"They are operating as proxies of a much larger threat, which is the threat from Iran," he told CBN News. "We don't have a border with Iran. They are building two borders next to Israel. One in Lebanon through Hezbollah--which they are arming, funding, guiding, and training--and another one now that they are trying to build in Gaza, in the south of Israel, through Hamas."

We asked the Ambassador about the possibility that economic sanctions could deter Iran from its support of terrorism and its nuclear weapons program.

"What we hope for is that the world will come together," he answered. "That people will read the writing on the wall when it's not too late and get together in order to put enough pressure on the Iranian economy."

Meridor stressed that Israel wants to resolve the conflict with Iran peacefully--but that all options remain on the table.

"The Iranians should understand that whatever it might take, the world will not allow them to go nuclear," he said.

The Ambassador also addressed the possibility of an eventual peace deal with longtime foe Syria. He said Israel would be open to such a deal, but only if the Syrians break away from what he called "the terror camp"--led by Iran-- and end their sponsorship of terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. So the ball, it seems, is in Syria's court.

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Terrorism Analyst

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