FM: U.S. war in Iraq could be 'opportunity' for Israel
By Daniel Sobelman, Ha'aretz Correspondent
Speaking on Monday at the Herzliya Conference on Israel's National Strength and Security, Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the impending U.S. military operation in Iraq could provide "an opportunity for us." Israel, Netanyahu explained, might be able to work toward its goals of replacing the Palestinian Authority's leadership, and, subsequently, democratizing Palestinian society.
Netanyahu warned that terrorist strikes at passenger planes, both in Israel and the world, would have disastrous consequences for the world economy. Palestinian terror groups, he added, are also liable to attack planes carrying Israeli passengers with missiles such as the ones fired at the Arkia plane last week in Mombasa, Kenya.
The Palestinian Authority had tried to smuggle in such shoulder-launched missiles aboard the Karine A ship, the Foreign Minister noted.
The failed attempt to hit an Israeli passenger plane, was "a miracle from the skies above", said Netanyahu, and terror organizations - including Palestinian ones - were now "racing to bring us this horrible gift." Strikes against passenger planes would be the "second convulsive fracture," following the September 11 2001 attacks, he declared.
He said that Israel's Foreign Ministry is involved in an international initiative under which new defense systems for civilian planes would be developed.