In Times op-ed, José Maria Aznar asks West to remember Israel its only ally in 'turbulent' region
06.17.10, 13:06 / Israel News
José Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, published an opinion article with the London Times Thursday saying the world must support Israel because "if it goes down, we all go down".
Aznar, who has joined the 'Friends of Israel' campaign to which David Trimble, a foreign observer taking part in Israel's flotilla raid probe, also belongs, calls on Europe to refuse to put up with cries to eliminate Israel as part of global Christian-Jewish cooperation.
Aznar also criticizes Turkey, to which the Marmara belonged, for placing Israel "in an impossible situation" in which it would have to either give up its security or face world condemnation.
The former prime minister calls on the world to "blow away the red mists of anger" and take a "reasonable and balanced approach" based on the fact that Israel was created by a decision of the UN and therefore unquestionably a legitimate state.
"Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology," he adds.
However, he says, "62 years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace."
Aznar says the real threat to the region is extreme Islamism, "which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony".
"Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large," he adds. Aznar concludes by saying that Israel is the West's first line of defense against the chaos set to erupt in the Middle East, and therefore must be protected.
"It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East," he writes. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly."
"Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region," Aznar writes of the IDF's calamitous raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza on May 31.
"In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the 'Mavi Marmara' would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship."