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Israel's Nuclear Alarm Bells Ringing!

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: 'Rather Than Demanding An Immediate Halt To Iran's Nuclear Weapons P5+1 Has Lowered The Bar!'

Prof. Yehezkel Dror: 'Israel Should Attack Iran's Nuclear Weapons Sites While There Is Still Time'.

Israeli Think Tank: 'Danger Of Nuclear Iran To Israel Outweighs Danger Incurred From Israeli Strike On Iran'

 Is Israel on the verge of a preventative strike on Iran? Just consider the recent statements from Israel over the past twenty-four hours. They reflect the current view that the current P5+1 nuclear talks are doomed to failure and the U.S. and the rest of the world are actually letting Tehran off the hook. From Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on down there is a mounting school of thought that the nuclear talks have turned into a farce - the Obama administration is categorically opposed to a military operation against Iran before the U.S. presidential election in November, if at all, while Tehran is again stonewalling as it continues its nuclear weapons program. Analyst David Essing assesses the latest developments.

 Easing demands on Iran...

Binyamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amit Shabi)

Israel's alarm bells that are warning of a nuclear Iran are ringing louder than ever over the past twenty-four hours. Consider these indicators: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has publicly criticized the P5+1 nuclear talks in Bagdad that have ended in deadlock. Netanyahu declared: 'It was to be expected that the world powers would demand that Iran halt its uranium enrichment and dismantle its new underground facility near Qom. But instead they are easing their demands of the Iranians'. Speaking to the National Institute for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, the PM said it was regrettable that the several rounds of talks have led nowhere. In effect, Netanyahu rebuffed the upbeat assessment of a 'senior U.S. source' who flew straight from Bagdad to Tel Aviv to brief Israeli officials and the media.

Israel will not be a Czechoslovakia...

Iranian missiles (photo: MEHR)

IsraCast Conclusion: At their last meeting in Washington, President Obama had called on Netanyahu to give a chance for the new sanctions and nuclear talks. The Israeli leader replied that he was willing to go the extra mile, in spite of the IAEA's latest suspicions about nuclear weapons research at Parchin and increased uranium enrichment facility at Fordow near Qom. Netanyahu has signaled that he will not accept any kind of deal that will allow Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program under the guise of a phoney international accord. In other words, Israel has no intention of becoming the Czechoslovakia of the twenty-first century. That was the PM's message to the White House.

But is this a gross overstatement and misreading of the PM's comments? Not if one reads the analysis of Prof. Yehezkel Dror writing in the Israel Hayom daily. Dror, who is not affiliated with the Right or the Left and with no political agenda of his own, has a reputation for dealing strictly with the facts, as he sees them. These are some excerpts from his analysis:

Attack Iran while there's still time...

The Iranian Missile Range

'Nuclear weapons in Iranian hands pose grave dangers to Israel because of the real possibility that in some circumstances its rulers will use them, directly or indirectly, against Israel. The very existence of nuclear weapons in Iranian hands will create various threats to Israel. There is a high probability that it would trigger the proliferation of these weapons in the Middle East which further exacerbates the dangers'.

'Hopefully, the sanctions will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. However the probability that they will is not high. Moreover, Israel cannot base the future of its national security on the critical decisions of others when there is no certainty they will be adopted. Therefore, in the absence of another solution, Israel will have no alternative but to attack Iran's nuclear facilities as long as they are vulnerable'.

'In the research I have just published for the Begin-Sadat Institute, the conclusion was that if Israel attacks there will be a violent Iranian reaction, but there should be no exaggeration of Iran's ability to inflict serious retaliation to Israel or others. Even the pessimistic scenarios show the anticipated damage to Israel would be far less than that of an Iranian nuclear attack. We would likely see some deterioration in Israel's relations with the U.S. and additional world powers and a worsening in part of the Arab - Israeli conflict. The most serious of all would be the possibility that Iran would renew its nuclear efforts while trying to retaliate against Israel.

'A second conclusion: In order to offset the damage and to encourage international steps to prevent Iran from renewing its nuclear efforts, it would be essential for Israel to combine an attack on Iran with an initiative to advance Middle East peace that could be based partially on the Arab (Saudi) peace initiative that was broached at the turn of the century.'

'Therefore, my recommendation on the main issue of Israel's security agenda involves a dual approach: Israel should attack Iran's nuclear facilities as long as this is possible (if there is no other way to block Iranian nuclear weapons) combined with a serious comprehensive Israeli offensive for Middle East peace. Paradoxically the crisis, emanating from an Israeli pre-emptive strike, could provide an opportunity for a Middle East peace initiative'.

IsraCast Conclusion:

1. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has signaled the U.S. and the rest of the international community that it's time to get serious about Iran. So far the sanctions and nuclear talks have not delivered the goods - Iran is still advancing its nuclear weapons project which it views as an insurance policy against any future intervention in its grand design to impose its hegemony on the Persian Gulf and far beyond.

2. Prof. Yehezkel Dror has explained why it will be in Israel's national interest to attack Iran while it is still possible. He notes two basic reasons:

  • There is a low probability the sanctions and nuclear talks will succeed as compared to a high probability that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons it will use them against Israel.
  • Dror's bottom line is that a nuclear Iran is far more dangerous to Israel than the blowback from an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has just weighed in on the issue. In his view, the U.S. is ware that Israel alone will decide if and when to act militarily against Iran. The trick was 'to identify the last moment when it was possible to something'. There was no necessity to race toward that moment or to announce it had already arrived - but neither should there be any 'closing our eyes' to the reality. While diplomacy was the preferred option, no other option should be taken off the table.

In the past, the Defense Minister has referred to what he called 'the zone of immunity' - when Iran would be invulnerable to an Israeli strike. That Israeli time frame is defined by its limited fire-power and military capability as compared to the U.S. If Israel perceives that Iran's nuclear weapons program is approaching immunity from an Israeli attack, all the indications are that Israel will strike as it did in the past against potential nuclear threats in Iraq and Syria.

David Essing

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