.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Crazy rumor that Netanyahu said he would destroy Lebanon

A bizarre rumor has been floating around. Here is the most embellished version I could find, from a Malaysian blog, but parts of it are all over the web:
At a news conference in Switzerland, on the occasion of the building an Israeli railway there, the German newspaper Die Zeit interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“Congratulations Mr. Netanyahu, my first question is that does the beginning of the large train line’s construction confirm the announcement of the dissident Syrian Intelligence Office that you will strike Lebanon?

In reply, Netanyahu stated:

Yes, and it is not a secret that it will happen with U.S-Gulf support and that is why they have been warned, but before you ask, you have a look at the new map of the world and see that there is no nation with this name.” Given that the UN Security Council has listed 388 Israeli airspace violations by Israel against Lebanon, there is no doubt what Israel is planning regarding Lebanon.

President Michel Suleiman condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statements on Lebanon, saying that its existence will not be affected by his remarks.

"Lebanon is the only country to have defeated Israel militarily and the Jewish state is still recovering from it.” Indeed, the only thing that stopped Israel in 2006 from wiping Lebanon off the map was the defense against them provided by Hezbollah, who sent them crying with their tails between their legs.

...
Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon are on high alert in anticipation of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat daily reported recently. According to the report, Hezbollah has been monitoring with caution the reinforcement of IDF troops along the Lebanon border.

It is also interesting to note that the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, admitted that the Israeli train line is funded by Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Asked if he was not afraid of his people, he affirmed the close friendly relations between the two countries. Qatar, the one that has had a vested interest in formenting terrorism and and ‘regime change” in Libya, Syria and elsewhere.
As Victor Ivrii writes:
This quotation has been broadcasted all over anti-Israel websites and blogs despite being obviously bogus. Those who invented it were smoking pretty mighty stuff or had a great albeit pervert sense of humour. They only failed to mention that Netanyahu made this announcement on the board of the Israeli submarine—aircraft carrier on the Geneva lake

Israel possesses an expertise in many areas but railway building is not among them and many foreign companies are building railways and light rails in Israel. On the contrary, Swiss are experts here. And even if Israel was building a railway in Switzerland how could this construction be used to strike Lebanon?

Ivrii speculates that the quote originated in this Pravda article, but in fact it was created out of whole cloth a week earlier.

From a website called The Islam Times, February 22:

Qatar (Islam Times) – The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani confirmed that Israel is a friendly country and considered that using Qatar for the military operation in Libya is a Qatari mandate.

At a news conference in Switzerland, on the occasion of building the first and largest Israeli railway, the German newspaper “Die Zeit” asked the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Congratulations Mr. Netanyahu, my first question is that does the beginning of the large train line’s construction confirm the announcement of the dissident Syrian Intelligent Office that you will strike Lebanon?

Netanyahu replied: Yes, and it is not a secret that it will happen with U.S.-Gulf support and that is why they have been warned, but before you ask you have look at the new map of the world and see that there is no nation with this name.

The German journalist directed a question at the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and said: The Israeli train line is funded by Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, are you not afraid of your people.

The Emir of Qatar answered: Israel is a friendly country and there is no fear of our people.

When this completely bogus quote was reported to Lebanon's president, he indeed responded as if it was true. From Naharnet, February 23:

President Michel Suleiman condemned on Thursday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statements on Lebanon, saying that its existence will not be affected by his remarks.

He added in a statement: “Lebanon is the only country to have defeated Israel militarily and the Jewish state is still recovering from it.”

Netanyahu had said on Wednesday that an Israeli strike against Lebanon would be supported by the United States and countries of the Arab Gulf.

In addition, he remarked that there is no such thing as Lebanon on the world map.

He made his statements at a press conference during a trip to Switzerland.

This is just one way how a stupid, easily provable lie can get repeated across the world, and even be believed by Arab leaders and ostensibly respected newspapers without the slightest bit of skepticism.

But if you disagree and believe this idiotic nonsense, all you need to do is find me the article in Die Zeit.

(h/t Samson2)