The headlines are stark indeed. “Israel Readies a Pre-Emptive Strike.” Israeli Prime Minister is said to be working to persuade a reluctant members of his coalition Cabinet to go along with such a military option against Islamist Iran. The Huffington Post’s British edition reports Netanyahu saying this:
“One of those regional powers is Iran, which is continuing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would constitute a grave threat to the Middle East and the entire world, and of course it is a direct and grave threat on us.” One day later, defense minister Ehud Barak, struck a similar tone.” A situation could be created in the Middle East in which Israel must defend its vital interests in an independent fashion, without necessarily having to reply on other forces, regional or otherwise,” he said.
Ehud Barak’s comments are most interesting. He was the Labor Party Prime Minister in 2000 who offered the Palestinians 97% of the territory they claimed as theirs, reserving only those limited regions thought absolutely essential to Israeli security. The Palestinians balked and commenced yet another “intifada” uprising. The leaders of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) then would rather send stone-throwing teenagers to confront armed Israeli soldiers and tanks than engage in serious negotiations for peace.
Ehud Barak could qualify as an Israeli “dove,” but he is first and foremost a soldier and an Israeli patriot. It’s not so surprising that the hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu should be talking of a military strike against Iran. When Ehud Barak joins this conversation, you know it’s serious.
This is a most serious situation. No one knows what might happen if Israel strikes the Iranian nuclear weapons research stations. What is clear is that the efforts of the Obama administration to restrain Iran over the past three years have been an utter failure.
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