A group of 25 non-Jewish parliamentarians from 17 countries on Wednesday signed a resolution justifying a potential Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying such a move would be legal under international law and might be needed to ensure the survival of Israel.
The lawmakers, including US Congressmen and one Latin American minister, considered calling on their governments to cut diplomatic ties with Iran over its refusal to curb its nuclear program, but the final resolution did not include such a clause.
Currently visiting Israel — some of them for the first time — the parliamentarians who signed the resolution are members of the Israel Allies Foundation, a consortium of pro-Israel lawmakers from around the world. They also declared that Israelis have “an inalienable right” to live in the West Bank.
The declaration states that Iran, with “its stated goal of destroying Israel,” constitutes a “clear and present danger” to Israel’s existence.
“Whereas, men and women of conscience condemn the persecution and suffering of the Jewish People through the ages and resolve that a holocaust against the Jewish People must never be allowed to happen again… be it affirmed that it is the sense of the signers that … Israel’s protective military actions are lawful under international law and are consistent with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which reserves unto each nation the right to engage in acts of self-defense,” the declaration states.
“We support the government of Israel as acting within its rights and obligations to its citizens when it stands resolutely in defense of its sovereign territory and acts preemptively, if necessary, to ensure the protection of its citizens and the survival of its national existence.”
The lawmakers — hailing from Canada, Brazil, Finland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Portugal, United Kingdom, Estonia, Hungary and Spain — are participating in the Israel Allies Foundation’s Chairmen’s Conference in Jerusalem this week.
There was some debate as to whether the declaration, which was handed to Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, should include a call on countries to adopt the “Canadian model.”
“We support Israeli very clearly. But that doesn’t mean that you have to break relations with Iran. It depends on what Iran will do in the future’
In a surprising move hailed by Jerusalem, Ottawa last month withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and cut all ties with the regime. But most parliamentarians who signed the declaration said they are not ready to call for a complete rupture of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic.
“I’m not in favor of that yet,” member of the German Bundestag Frank Heinrich told The Times of Israel. “I have to clarify that and I’m not going to take a stand just by myself. I will take that idea with me,” he said, adding that he would “try to discuss” it once he returns to Germany.
“I want to see what this is all about, that’s why I came here, to express my friendship, to express my solidarity and to find out how that can go on from here and what I can talk home with me.”
Senator Ruperto Long, the justice minister of Uruguay, likewise said he did not want to openly call on his government to break off ties with Tehran. “We decided to support Israel very clearly and stand against any pronunciation against Israel’s right, or Holocaust denial,” he told The Times of Israel, “but that doesn’t mean that you have to break relations with Iran. It depends on what Iran will do in the future.”
Portuguese MP Joao Rebelo, the vice chairman of the country’s national defense committee, said sanctions against Iran need to go much further, but that he does not advocate for abolishing diplomatic relations with Tehran. “That has no impact on the people,” he said. “I understand why Canada did what it did; their diplomats in Iran had trouble. Our diplomats there are not being harmed,” he said.
Congressman Arolde de Oliveira of Brazil also said cutting diplomatic relations was uncalled for at this point.
“It’s easy for me and easy for you, to quote verses and to love each like we’re doing now, because it’s from the heart,” said Rabbi Benny Elon, a former right-wing MK and the head of the Israel Allies Foundation, Tuesday night at an event for hundreds of ecstatically pro-Israel Christian tourists in Jerusalem. “But believe me, that they will have the real task. They have to translate it into political terms and they have to see it clearly and loudly in their parliaments.”
The declaration also asserts that Israelis have “an inalienable right” to live in their historic homeland, including “Judea and Samaria, where there has been a consistent Jewish presence for 3,000 years”; that Jerusalem “should remain the eternal, undivided capital of Israel;” and that attempts by the international community to pressure Israel into making concessions in the conflict with the Palestinians “has not led to peace.”