This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 24, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." Joining us now, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu.
HANNITY: Mr. Prime Minister, as you know, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is there. She said today she insisted that Hezbollah free the two Israeli soldiers, pull back from the border before there could be any cease-fire. That's the minimal conditions, but is that a good strategy at this point for Israel, because they would be able to come back and fight another day?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FMR. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, these are parts of the U.N. Resolution 1559 that called on them to do that. Obviously, it didn't call on them to return kidnapped soldiers because it didn't contemplate that they'd kidnap soldiers.
But it did call on them to pull back from the border, to have the Lebanese army stand there, and called on them to be disarmed and disbanded. And I think that's perhaps the most important thing, because if they retain their rockets, with which they're pummeling Israeli cities right now, deliberately targeting civilians, then we won't achieve that much, will we?
HANNITY: You made a point in The Wall Street Journal yesterday about how 44 years ago Soviet missiles ended up in Cuba, and John Kennedy, President Kennedy, at the time set the goal, and that was to remove the missiles. You say in your piece it's a similar situation: remove the missiles or destroy them.
It seems Israel is going in piecemeal, that they have decided against a full invasion. Do you think you'll be able to accomplish that goal militarily that way?
NETANYAHU: The government has set a goal to remove the threat from Israel's cities and its civilians, and specifically to remove the missile threat. I'm not going to second-guess them in the middle of the war. We are in the middle of a war.
It's instructive, though, that when John F. Kennedy said, "Get the missiles out of a neighboring state," he did two things. One, he did this when the missiles were a potential threat. They hadn't been fired. We've been hit by over 1,000 rockets from Hezbollah arsenals — Syrian- and Iranian-supplied missiles.
And, secondly, John Kennedy said that, even though there were ICBMs that could reach the United States mainland from the Soviet Union, he said (and thought) that the presence of these missiles in the unstable Cuban regime, with that hand on the trigger, was too dangerous for America.
And similarly for us, the presence of these missiles in Hezbollah's hands is an intolerable threat. If this is resolved, when that missile arsenal is intact, you know it's just a question of time when Hezbollah will fire them again, when it suits their Iranian and Syrian patrons.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Much has been made about U.N. Resolution 1559. There is some controversy it seems about U.N. Resolution 242, which of course calls for Israel to remove itself from territories acquired in the 1967 war. Is it your view that that has been fulfilled, or is there still some issue about whether or not that has been adhered to?
NETANYAHU: Well, it calls for Israel to remove itself from territories — or not the territories — to secure and recognize boundaries. We've done — the question is, what is a secure boundary? The 1967 lines were obviously insecure, because we were attacked from them time and again.
But even so, we moved to the '67 lines, both in Lebanon and in Gaza, and we were attacked. And we certainly don't have any recognition, any peace that is quid pro quo of peace. So the conditions of Resolution 242 are not met.
They're not just an Israeli withdrawal. First of all, they're not withdrawal from the territories. They're withdrawal from territories in exchange for security and recognition. We got neither security or recognition. We've got insecurity, terror campaigns, and war.
COLMES: I know there's been some — I know the word "the" is not in there, but there are those who interpret it as meaning "the territories," even though the word "the" is not in there.
Syria is now saying it is ready for talks with the United States, for example, to broker a cease-fire. Why wouldn't that be a great opportunity to try to bring peace?
NETANYAHU: Syria says that from one side of its mouth and on the other side of its mouth — or, if you will, from its hidden hand — it has been supplying in the course of the recent outbreak, it has been supplying Hezbollah with rockets. So Syria has to decide which side it wants to play.
Does it want to play peace-broker or war-maker? So far, it's played war-maker. Now, if Syria, because of American pressure and international pressure, feels compelled to act to moderate Hezbollah and, indeed, to rein it in and to stop supplying it with war weapons, that’s fine with me.
But I think they will do so only if they understand that there is immense American-led pressure on them, and that is not merely offering a bunch of carrots, but having a lot of sticks and a very big stick that they have to consider.
HANNITY: We'll continue now with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu right after the break.
COLMES: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." Here's more of our interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
HANNITY: I want to go back to your article in Sunday's, yesterday's Wall Street Journal, where you said it's not enough to push Hezbollah back 30 kilometers. They have rockets that can go over 200 kilometers.
Nor is it enough to achieve a cease-fire, because with their missile arsenal intact, they could re-emerge triumphant a year or two and menace the entire population of Israel and cause chaos in the Mideast.
The bigger problem, though, isn't it, that they could come with some nuclear device or chemical or biological weapons? Isn't that got to be the biggest concern, if you don't destroy the infrastructure and finish the job completely now?
NETANYAHU: I think it's a real threat. I'm not sure a nuclear threat in the hand of Hezbollah is what we're dealing with, but I wouldn't rule out other types of weapons, deadlier weapons, because in fact...
HANNITY: If down the road — if down the road, Iran got nuclear weapons...
NETANYAHU: What we're seeing is that — well, if Iran goes nuclear, then we all have an enormous problem, because, you know, what we're unmasking here is the degree of fanaticism that these militants have and the fact that they have no compunction whatsoever to rocket cities with no provocation whatsoever. And you'd fear a world in which the ayatollahs have atomic missiles.
I think that this is something that we've not faced. We've not faced a global militancy, a global fanaticism that is armed with weapons of mass death. The last time we were faced with that possibility was over 60 years ago when another global fanaticism, Hitlerism, sought to achieve nuclear weapons but didn't, thank God. It was defeated in time.
But imagine a world where that madman had nuclear weapons, and you can see the kind of peril we're all in. So I think there are two problems here. I think there ought to be a division of labor to address these two problems.
Israel must disarm Hezbollah, and especially must disarm it from these long-range missiles. I think, by the way, there are not thousands of these long-range missiles. There are several hundreds at most, but those missiles have to go. And they have caused a strategic change in our situation.
The second thing is that the United States must lead an effort to prevent Iran from acquiring those nuclear weapons. And I respect the statements made by the president and the vice president, that indeed Iran must not acquire atomic weapons.
COLMES: Can Israel totally eliminate Hezbollah militarily?
NETANYAHU: Well, but wait a minute. It can, if it chooses to do so. Yes, it can, or nearly. It depends on the amount of force that you use.
But I would ask a different question. You say it hasn't eliminated it. Look, we're facing now an Islamic militancy of historical proportions.
It is not a wham, you know, a slam bam. It's not like that. It's not a slam-dunk. This is a war. President Bush said in 9/11 that this would be a protracted war, and he's right.
But remember that what you have here are forces that have been percolating for a thousand years. The Shiites in Iran who are behind this are talking for 1,000 years since the disappearance of their sacred imam, the Mahdi. They say the Mahdi will come back in 1,000 years. That's about now.
Twenty-five years ago, a quarter of a century ago, they built the Islamic Republic of Tehran. They also vanquished the Soviet air force in Afghanistan, created Al Qaeda, and now they believe they're on the march. They're in Lebanon.
And they look at us and they say, "Do we have what it takes to resist them, to defeat them?" And I think that this is — in our historic Western view, we think that it's just a question of next week's cease-fire and today's news headlines.
But what all those who are looking at it have to understand, that our civilization, our common civilization is under attack by this Islamic fanaticism. It is currently striking Israel, to be sure, because it's the forward position of the Western, free, liberal civilization that we all adhere to.
But this is only their first target. Remember that. And understand that, just as in the case of other mad militancies, it took a while, but ultimately the free world prevailed. And this is what must happen here. We must not ask how long it takes; we must ask, what does it take to achieve victory over these fanatics?
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