|PM Benjamin Netanyahu (L) & Defense Min Ehud Barak (R) (Ha'aretz)|
Despite opposition from the Obama administration and from many Israeli security chiefs, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have “almost finally” decided on an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities this fall. A final decision will be taken soon.
Netanyahu believes Iran’s regime is aiming to ‘destroy the Jewish people,’ but he does not think Obama will resort to force even though Iran’s nuclear drive is ‘further ahead’ than previously thought.
President Obama does not want to intervene militarily before the presidential elections in November, and it is doubtful that he would act afterwards. Conditions cited by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for an American attack do not calm Israeli concerns. And Obama has a record of seeking UN and Arab League approval before action. All these factors underline for Israel the growing conviction that Israel will have to tackle Iran alone.
As for presidential challenger Mitt Romney, he takes a more forceful position, but would probably not have the domestic support necessary to act in the first year of his presidency, if elected, and after that it would be too late. The US can live with Iran as a “breakout state” — on the edge of attaining a bomb, But “for Israel, a breakout state is a nuclear state.” (It is generally understood but left unsaid that if it appears Barack Obama will win the US Presidential election, then Israel will make its move before November.)
Netanyahu is convinced that thwarting Iran amounts to thwarting a plan to destroy the Jewish people and that “we may have reached the moment of truth” after which it would be too late to stop Iran. It will be “a matter of a few months” before it is too late, before Iran would be immune from damage by an Israeli strike. Four years ago an Israeli strike could have set back the Iranian program by two to four years. A year from now, an Israeli strike would have a negligible impact.
There are costs to an attack, but Netanyahu believes the price of an attack is far lower than the price of inaction. An Israeli strike could bring missile attacks, terrorism on the northern and southern borders, and Arab upheaval. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad would not get involved, since this would finish him off. Israel expects a confrontation with the US, global protests, and further international isolation.
However, if Iran got the bomb, the missile threat would be escalated, Hamas and Hezbollah further empowered, and there would be a danger of any crisis escalating into a nuclear crisis. Also, an Iranian bomb would end foreign investment in Israel and prompt an exodus of Israel’s best brains.
Netanyahu said Israel “must and can” only rely on itself to safeguard its security. “It becomes clear time after time that when it comes to the safety of Israeli citizens, Israel must and can rely only on itself, and we will continue to conduct ourselves in this way,” Netanyahu said.
Pray for Israel and its leaders to make the right decisions and to protect His people.
Source: Times of Israel 8/11/2012