Israel attack on Iran
possible if nuke talks stall
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks at the UN on Tuesday. Click image to enlarge.
AFTER THE RECENT promising thaw in relations between the United States and Iran, an ominous development clouded the outlook on Tuesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking as much to the audience at home as to the world, warned the global community his country had little confidence that negotiations would succeed.
For months, Israeli officials and media have been warning that Iran is on the threshold of attaining a nuclear weapons capability.
Will they wait for diplomacy to run its course?
Watch a video of the Israeli prime minister’s speech below the fold.
THE SIGNS THIS WEEK from the tiny Jewish state are not promising at all. It’s very existence remains threatened, even while the new Iranian president charms the West with his soothing words.
The coverage in Israel of Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday had a decidedly different tone from they way U.S. media portrayed it.
The headline in the Jerusalem Post was not optimistic. Israel will stand alone if needed in preventing Iran nuclear weapons
Maya Shwayder wrote on Wednesday:
The Jerusalem Post story about the speech focuses on Israel’s feeling of isolation. Click image to enlarge
“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took to the dais at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to re-declare that Israel would never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”
This was in marked contrast to the warm reception given the Iranian president after his speech last week when President Obama chatted on the phone with Hassan Rouhani.
“Furthermore, [Netanyahu] said, if Israel has to stand alone against Iran, it will, but with the knowledge that in defending Israel, “we will be defending many, many others,” Shwayder continued.
“With strong rhetoric and an aggressive tone, Netanyahu lit into Iran for what he characterized as a deception tactic to lull the international community into a false sense of security.”
According to the story in the Post, “Netanyahu called Rouhani’s speech on Friday a ruse and a ploy, and he scolded the member states during his speech … for falling for Rouhani’s words, claiming that “in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran has never chosen deceit and secrecy.”
Even The New York Times, in its Wednesday editorial, emphasized the Israeli leader’s skepticism.
In Netanyahu Pushes Back on Iran Netanyahu’s tone was noted:
“During an aggressive speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel used sarcasm and combative words to portray Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, as a smooth-talking charlatan, one who is determined to continue building a nuclear weapons arsenal,” the editorial said.
The story in The Guardian about Netanyahu’s speech carries an ominous overtone. Click image to enlarge.
“Mr. Netanyahu called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the previous Iranian president, “a wolf in wolf’s clothing” and Mr. Rouhani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
It then noted the reaction from Iran.
“The Iranians were so angered by what they called Mr. Netanyahu’s “inflammatory” speech that they issued a rebuttal and spoke of the need to “sustain the current positive atmosphere” so that diplomacy could be successful.”
THE THAW IN U.S.-Iran relations seems to have been short-lived at best. Both leaders have to keep in mind their differing constituencies.
“Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Rouhani have hard-line domestic audiences and allies that they will need to consider and cajole as they undertake this effort to resolve the nuclear dispute and develop a new relationship,” The New York Times said.
“For Mr. Obama, that means working closely with Israel and helping Mr. Netanyahu see that sabotaging diplomacy, especially before Iran is tested, only makes having to use force more likely. That would be the worst result of all.”
Indeed, if Israel feels abandoned, as it increasingly appears to, it may decide that a pre-emptive strike against Iraninan nuclear facilities is its only option.
The Jerusalem Post was just as skeptical in its editorial, headlined: Bibi and Obama dovetail – for now.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was feted after his appearance at the U.N. last week. Click image to enlarge.
“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama are no strangers to dissent. And the remarkable developments in recent days in US-Iranian relations that included a phone call by Obama to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – the first leader-to-leader contact between the United States and Iran in 34 years – seemed to provide the fodder for yet another feud.”
Indeed, Obama and Netanyahu seem far apart on the possibility of a negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
“Admittedly, at this preliminary stage it makes little sense for Netanyahu to use this visit to the US to complicate relations with the Obama administration over direct talks with Iran,” the Post said.
But Israeli patience is not indefinite.
“[T]here is no reason to doubt Obama’s sincerity as a true friend to Israel.
However, the time is quickly approaching when Iran will make a concrete offer. And therein lies the real danger.”
It backed up the prime minister in his stance:
“Netanyahu must stand firm in defense of Israel’s cardinal interests.”
The view from within the besieged Jewish state is remarkably different from that at the United Nations building in Manhattan.
Surrounded by violently imploding, unstable nations from Egypt to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, Israel has every reason to feel isolated and alone.
President Obama’s failure to follow through on Syria only made this feeling more intense.
It is no surprise that Netanyahu is keeping all his options on the table. The only question remains how long Israeli patience will last. If diplomacy drags on for too long, an Israeli strike against Iran becomes ever more likely.
That would be a development with unknown but serious global repercussions.
Watch Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN General Assembly below.
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