Photo: Niv Kalderon
Photo: Niv Kalderon
Photo: Niv Calderon
Photo: Niv Calderon
Photo: Yoav Galai
Photo: Yoav Galai
Axis of evil increasing, MK says
Knesset members censure military deal between Iran and Syria, with some, including Lieberman, calling for emergency national government

The strengthening ties between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad "require Israel to prepare itself anew from a governmental, military and political perspective," said Strategic Affair Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in response to reports of a military deal between Iran and Syria


"The Iranian threat lies outside the realm of political argument. As such, I call on the government and the head of the opposition (MK Benjamin Netanyahu) to reconsider the possibility of an national emergency government," the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, added.


According to a Saturday report in the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, Tehran will help Syria fund future arms deals with North Korea and Russia, set up military plants in there and back Syria on the Lebanon issue. In return, Assad promised Ahmadinejad to refrain from entering peace talks with Israel.


The deal had a number of Knesset up in arms.  In light of the situation, Kadima member Isaac Ben-Israel also called for the establishment of a national emergency emergency government.


“Iran openly supported Hizbullah during the war against Israel last summer and came out unscathed. Now the Iranian president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) is trying to broaden the axis of evil to include Syria. Israel’s silence will only encourage Tehran to become even more extreme and even transfer nuclear technology to Syria,” he said.


Fellow party member Tzachi Hanegbi called the international community's apathy to the growing strength of this 'axis of evil' troubling.


Iran is becoming an increased threat not only to Israel but to the region’s stability, the pragmatic Arab regimes and the hegemony of the realist and sane West,” said Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.


The MK added “the fact that Syria joined Iran is indicative of the adventurous and hasty nature of President Bashar Assad... Unlike his father Hafez, Bashar is taking unnecessary risks that are jeopardizing his regime.”


Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union-NRP) said the agreement between Iran and Syria is “reminiscent of the pacts that were signed on the eve of the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars”.


“The Iranian decision will lead to the launching of an attack on Israel from Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Iran,” he stated.


"For some reason, the government of Israel, chooses to ignore not only intelligence information, but even information that is published for all to see," he said.


On the other side of the spectrum, Knesset member Yossi Beilin agreed that the deal was troubling, but interpreted it as an indication that direct talks with Syria were needed.


"The threat from the north is growing right before our eyes, and our government is responding only by rejecting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s statements,” the Meretz party chairman said.


“Those who today are refusing to enter direct or indirect talks with Syria instead of acting in Israel’s interests may find themselves responsible for another round of unnecessary bloodshed in the region," he added.


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