rael may be only a short time away from one of the most fateful moments in its history. Friday evening, Israeli television reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak have all but finalized their decision to attack Iran's nuclear program.
The reasons outlined for their decision make for chilling reading. Most importantly, the two men believe that the Obama administration does not and will never consider an Iranian nuke a threat serious enough to justify military action.
"The US," reports the Times of Israel,
has not provided Israel with details of an attack plan. President Obama has not promised to attack Iran if all else fails. 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.In addition, Netanyahu and Barak do not believe that a change of administration would lead to a shift in policy.
Obama does not want to intervene militarily before the presidential elections in November, and it is doubtful that he would act afterwards, runs the Israeli assessment, the TV report said. Obama may believe that the US can live with a nuclear Iran, but Israel cannot.
Equally chilling are the various scenarios outlined for the aftermath of such an attack.
Militarily, an Israeli strike would prompt missile attacks on Israel, attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah from the south and the north, and upheaval on the Arab street, in the leadership’s assessment.Diplomatically, an Israeli strike would prompt a confrontation with the US, global protests, international isolation for Israel, delegitimization, and a situation in which Israel was seen as the aggressor.Economically, an Israeli strike would deepen the economic slowdown and lead to a suspension of foreign investment.
Despite all of this, the two leaders apparently believe that an Iranian bomb would be much worse, prompting Israel's friends to abandon it completely, destroying the Israeli economy, and emboldening Israel's regional enemies.It should be kept in mind, however, that since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the Israeli security establishment has tended to put forward the worst-case scenario in all situations, afraid of being caught off-guard by unforeseen events.