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Thursday, February 12, 2004

I love Rumsfeld

Israel "would prefer not to get put in the sea"
Moderator: One last question.

Q [Palestinian general]: Mr. Secretary, You talked about countries that were trying to produce weapons of mass destruction. You talked about Iraq and you talked about Iran and North Korea. I have a question, a direct question to you. What are you doing with Israel? As far as Israel is concerned, Israel has more atomic weapons in the region than any other country. Why do you remain silent in regard to Israel? I think it’s important to answer this question because this has to do with the world, the strategy that we are pursuing today. I think that if the position towards Israel were different then the situation would be different in the Near East, and this is a great problem.

Rumsfeld: You know the answer before I give it, I’m sure. The world knows the answer. We take the world like you find it; and Israel is a small state with a small population. It’s a democracy and it exists in a neighborhood that in many -- over a period of time has opined from time to time that they’d prefer it not be there and they’d like it to be put in the sea. And Israel has opined that it would prefer not to get put in the sea, and as a result, over a period of decades, it has arranged itself so it hasn’t been put in the sea.
It's worth reading the entire (Dept. of Defense) transcript of this Q&A period at the Munich Conference on Security Policy.