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Israel and the March to War

osirak attack

Decal affixed to F-16 that attacked Osirak reactor (nuclear reactor image on left)

Two new pieces from the Israeli media, whose more perceptive journalists are monitoring what I’m beginning to think is a march to war on the part of Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Amir Oren writes in Haaretz (one explanation is in order to give context to one phrase below–the medical residents are on strike in Israel for higher wages):

The modus operandi of Netanyahu and Barak shows a willingness to absorb a small loss if they think it will help them attain a great success. The behavior of prime ministers and defense ministers in previous affairs provides telling indications that add up to a clear direction: toward some sort of military adventure.

…Barak and Netanyahu regretted Gabi Ashkenazi’s fourth year as Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Yuval Diskin’s sixth year as head of the Shin Bet security service, and Meir Dagan’s eighth year as head of the Mossad…Ashkenazi and Dagan made it hard for Netanyahu and Barak to take action against Iran.

…As for the green light from Washington, Netanyahu and Barak’s gamble is especially big. Maybe they think that Barack Obama will show restraint… If the two Israeli ministers are wrong, this is a particularly dangerous illusion. After the statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on board his flight to Tel Aviv and again at IDF headquarters – that “coordination” is required against Iran – should Israel take action, it would give an impression that there is such coordination.

…To put it in the terms of which Netanyahu is so fond, he behaved like Chamberlain this week, in trying to depict capitulation as an accomplishment. The day is not far off, Netanyahu believes, when Churchill will emerge from him. Until that happens, he would do well to give in once more, this time to the medical residents. They are needed in the hospitals, in preparation for the “escalation” for which the Shalit deal was prelude.

This follows on themes developed by Alex Fishman in a Yediot story I translated here a few days ago, in which he reported that Bibi was prepared to make concessions on a lesser matter in order to lay the groundwork for a much bigger objective: Iran.

Next up, Ben Caspit, who I’ve also reported on here previously regarding his fears of an Iran attack. Today’s column, while presented as a quasi fairy tale (or is it horror story?), nevertheless warns us of very real dangers of war fast approaching:

There was a strange phenomenon happening over the past few weeks. More and more people, mostly former senior officials and even a few currently serving in security and intelligence services, who are making their way carefully and stealthfully to the light. That is to us, the media.

They meet with us in far-flung places. They whisper. They are afraid. They believe the great anticipated event in the East is approaching. They read and heed the words of Meir Dagan. They hear more words of others which don’t reach the ears of the public (because of the censor repeating the mistakes of 1973 [several major stories predicting the Yom Kippur War were censored in the days leading up to it]).

They cry out for help. They tell of one Benny Gantz, Israel’s chief of staff, alone in the Kirya [Israel’s Pentagon], who also needs help.  During the previous term, there were those three giants Ashkenazi, Diskin and Dagan who stopped an earier disaster with their own bodies (in their words).  But the previous term is over.  Now we await the next term.  Ashkenazi, Diskin and Dagan are no more.  Their successors (Gantz, Cohen and Pardo) think as they did.  But they haven’t developed their own authority…They need help.  They’re not persuaded that the pair of Netanyahu-Barak, or more precisely Barak-Netanyahu can realize its dangerous fantasies.  Neither are they persuaded they can’t.  They’re aware how big the bet is, how great the danger.  And some of them believe this isn’t just their imaginations, that Bibi doesn’t fully understand, and that Barak is satisfied playing on his fiddle on high as the city burns below.

I don’t have much to say to these people.

The American defense secretary, Leon Panetta, said it out loud [calling for Israeli restraint], and the people heard during his last visit two weeks ago.  That’s why he came.  Was the message heard in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?  Not everyone is so sure.  According to the fatalist version, signing the Shalit deal was meant to “clear the table,” because afterward there would be nothing and no one with whom to sign because everything will be burning.  Let’s hope we’re talking about a child’s tale.

There are only two possibilities here: either the increasing mass of serious journalists writing in such a breathless gasps about looming war are right.  Or Bibi and Barak are attempting to psyche out the Iranians so that they’ll do the west’s bidding and compromise about their nuclear program.  Even if number 2 were true, any fool can see it’s not working and the Iranians are not folding.  That leaves us only with number 1.

In circumstances like this you always examine the motives and political leanings of your source.  And I’ve considered that in the case of Alex Fishman, Ben Caspit and Amir Oren.  If they were all hawks clamoring for war; or alternatively if they were all left-wing alarmists warning their readers because they were anti-war, of course I would discount them.  As it is the each represent different political allegiances with Oren on the (center) left, Fishman in the middle and Caspit on the right.  Caspit certainly is known for being right wing and is a close ally of Meir Dagan.  But even if you discount his views (which I don’t in this case), that still leaves you with two other journalists who don’t appear to have any axe to grind.

Some of you may wonder: how could Israel be preparing for the massive effort it would take to attack Iran and we wouldn’t know about it?  I remind you that Israeli censorship would prevent any specific information from being published that would offer any direct confirmation of such preparations.  And reporters know the system well enough that they pre-censor their material, or shape it so that they allude rather than state explicitly information they know won’t pass the censor.  That is why reports like the ones above give me such concern.  The only thing they don’t offer is a smoking gun…or F-16, fueling up for its rendezvous with destiny at Qom or Natanz.

I just consulted a trusted Israeli source, asking over the history of Israel’s wars, what was the media climate that preceded them.  I asked whether there were these mounting, thinly veiled warnings from the media after which war came; or whether wars came on more suddenly, without such media chatter.  S/He told me that Israel’s wars of choice (Cast Lead, Lebanon 1982, etc.) were much more like the current situation.  All of which makes me very, very scared.

I don’t know if Fishman, Oren, Caspit, Dagan and others are right about the oncoming war.  But their views are too sobering NOT to take seriously.  I would rather be wrong and have spoken out, than be right and not have said anything for fear of being wrong.

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • ahron moses October 14, 2011, 7:08 PM

    is u r afraid go to mother

    • Richard Silverstein October 14, 2011, 11:22 PM

      If the quality of Israel’s attack on Iran is as bad as your English syntax, Iran has little to worry about.

      • pabelmont October 15, 2011, 7:06 AM

        The quality may be bad, but will undoubtedly be quite destructive of life, property, and maybe will also release radioactivity (I don’t understand these things). The international community wisely gave permission only to defend against an attacker; but the USA and Israel have magically transmuted that into a permission to attack anyone who might dream of someday attacking (and, in the USA’s case, not of attacking the USA but of attacking “its interests elsewhere”). This is arresting (or assassinating) people for thinking about crying “FIRE” in an EMPTY theater. It stinks. It is a kindly delivery-to-self of permission to attack anyone, anytime, with or without a reason, and certainly without a legally-colorable reason.

        If Iran wants a war with Israel, let it strike first. I don’t for a moment believe it wants a war, but I equally don’t doubt that it will resolutely (recall Iran-Iraq war) strike back, and even small rockets (like those from Gaza) occasionally do some damage. I bet Iran’s are bigger and fiercer than Gazans’.

  • SimoHurtta October 15, 2011, 3:29 AM

    This Israeli folklore about the “heroic” Osirak attack is basically hilarious. First Osirak was a 40-megawatt light-water nuclear reactor, with no fast plutonium production ability (it would have taken decades to produce the plutonium for a bomb with it) when it would be operating. Osirak was a small research reactor designed not being suitable for “making bombs”. Secondly nobody thought Israel would attack and the anti-aircraft defences around the building site were rather primitive.

    There was no plutonium factory named Osirak and Israel did not manage on the last second to destroy the Iraqi nuclear bomb and nuclear weapon program. Actually the decal of Osriark on the F16 is hilarious, as hilarious would be the decal of the dairy processing plant or the Jiyeh Power Station (that oil catastrophe during the war) Israel bombed in Lebanon in 2006 on a Israeli war plane.

    Telling for 30 years on Israeli and US “zionist campfires” stories about the “heroic” Osirak attack has made Israelis believe that it was a real military victory against a real dangerous target. Even less aggressive Israelis (lets call them leftists) seem to be have problems to admit that the Osirak attack was a purely propagandist attack with the message to Arab countries “We do not allow you to become industrially and scientific developed”.

    If Israeli politicians in earnest believe Israel could repeat the Operation Opera with Iran and Israel would surface in the aftermath as the real winner they are complete nuts. The attack in itself might be a success for Israel but certainly not what happens after that.

    • shmuel October 15, 2011, 6:13 AM

      And your source for your theory about the Iraqi reactor?
      Probably the same one that says the mossad did 9/11 and the US never made it to the moon…

      • Yonatan October 15, 2011, 9:33 AM

        “First, the Osirak reactor that was bombed by Israel in June of 1981 was explicitly designed by the French engineer Yves Girard to be unsuitable for making bombs. That was obvious to me on my 1982 visit. Many physicists and nuclear engineers have agreed.”

        Richard Wilson
        Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics
        Harvard University
        Cambridge, Mass.

        Letter to The Atlantic, 2005

        • shmuel October 15, 2011, 9:50 AM

          Not the most reliable of sources – his website is massed with anti-Israel propoganda such that his opinion is probably as reliable as Debka or Arutz 7


          • Elisabeth October 15, 2011, 11:17 AM

            I did not see the anti-Israel ‘propoganda’ on his website. Certainly not anything coming close to Arutz 7 or Debka. What in particular did you have in mind?

          • shmuel October 15, 2011, 11:46 AM

            The site and links he brings are so full of one-sidedness that I fail to understand how you missed it.

            He makes no attempt at being even-handed, which is of couse legitimate, but it makes his statement about Osirak not reliable as a purely professional physicist’s opinion, and similar to bringing the manager of the Dimona reactor to put forward the opposite opinion.

          • Haver October 15, 2011, 12:10 PM

            He makes no attempt at being even-handed, which is of couse legitimate

            Straw man alert. He says that

            *Hatred and anger have built up over 60 years and have replaced thought on both sides;
            *Each party to the conflict has a duty to ensure the human rights of each and every individual on the other side, yet these human rights frequently get ignored.
            *In particular Israelis have a right to live in peace and security but not to impinge on the human rights of Palestinians. Palestinians have a right to govern their own affairs, but not to take the lives of Israelis.

            It looks like you are trying to legitimize Israel’s illegal attack on the Iraqi reactor. The UN Security Council adopted resolution 487 (1981) by a vote of 15 to 0 which strongly condemned the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct. It also noted that

            *Iraq has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since it came into force in 1970, that in accordance with that Treaty Iraq had accepted IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities, and that the Agency had testified that the safeguards have been satisfactorily applied;
            *that Israel has not adhered to the non-proliferation Treaty,

          • Richard Silverstein October 15, 2011, 2:24 PM

            You really think Harvard would offer an endowed chair to a propagandist of any sort? If you do you don’t know Harvard. This is a place where endowed professors have won myriad Nobels. This is no ariel College we’re talking about.

          • David October 15, 2011, 4:44 PM

            I have tried very hard to understand you, but you need to stop nitpicking when presented with ok sources. Your response has the form that you will rely on what the Israeli and American media have told you until something more reliable comes along. When it comes along, you avoid it.

          • Asaf October 17, 2011, 12:59 AM

            “He makes no attempt at being even-handed, which is of couse legitimate
            Straw man alert.”

            that’s Ad hominem. not Straw Man.

      • SimoHurtta October 16, 2011, 12:45 AM

        Shmuel you have been sitting around the Zionist campfires to long. It is not healthy to listen narrow propaganda and avoid asking the questions “Did it really happen so as we are told?” and “Why did we really do that?”.

        Osirak was built by the French and it was under IAEA safeguards. The type of that rather small reactor was light-water reactor (LWR). On the building site were hundreds of foreign technicians, so it was not a secret “weapon factory”.

        The difference between Dimona and Osirak reactors was that Dimona type (UNGG) was designed to product plutonium, Osirak not. The other difference is that Osirak was built openly under IAEA supervision, Dimona was built in secret and until today it is still not internationally monitored. By the way the French UNGG reactors, same type as Dimona, have been closed long ago. Dimona is considered to be a real ticking time bomb because its old age. If there happens something (even without war or terrorism) “you” have to find a new promised land.

        Do you Shmuel how Israel got Dimona? Well it was a reward for attacking Egypt in 1956. I suppose that this is not told on “your” evening campfires in the settlements after a hard days work of spraying racist graffitis and destroying Palestinians’ olive trees.

        • shmuel October 17, 2011, 3:33 AM

          This is I believe what Asaf calls “ad hominem”.
          For the record:
          No evening Zionist campfire
          No narrow propganda
          No settlement
          No spraying racist graffiti
          No destroying Palestinian’s olive trees.

          The problem with many anti-hasbarists is that the Israelis in their opinion consist of 3 types only with nothing in between:

          Anti Zionists (the heroes who slap eachother on the back after each comment, see especially Mondoweiss)

          The progressive/liberal zionists (like Richard here)

          The rest. No colours, all racist settlers and ultra orthodox extremists bent on stealing, grabbing, murdering, warmongering and whatever.

          Well there are actually a whole spectrum of decent honest Jews/Zionists who fill in the giant gap between the progressive and the rest. In fact most live there in the gap. As long as you don’t realise that these, the majority ought to be the target for trying to convince others, then you’re wasting your time.

          • SimoHurtta October 19, 2011, 12:32 AM

            The Zionist campfire is a ironic reference to the distorted Israeli/Zionist history writing. A show of how effective that history fed to you was how you yourself did see the Osirak attack (operation Opera). You had no clue what the target of that attack in reality was.

            An other show how bad you are informed of the real history of your country is the question how Dimona was “born”. As said it was a reward of a war started by Israel. Israel killed over 3000 and wounded about 5000 Egyptians in that attack.

            The whole “official” Israeli history is more fiction than real history. Same can be said of Zionists rationalization why Israel is their homeland. Actually it is rather amusing to read how atheist Jews tried / try to avoid the fact that their only argument is the religious one.

            This constant “whining” that Israeli (Jews) have many different views is amusing. Of course they have. So did Germans in the 30’s and 40’s. The hardcore Nazis represented only a permille of German population. That has not hindered people even today speaking of Nazi Germany (and what happened then) as a “entity”. Same with Communist Soviet Union. When Americans and others criticized the country/system, the did not speak of those millions of different Soviet views. Israel acts as a country so all Israeli Jews have to bear the responsibility of the events/crimes. So does your side also treat Palestinians / Hamas / Arabs / Iranians as a entity in most cases.

  • Omar October 15, 2011, 7:29 AM

    It might also be worth considering, Richard, the effect of the current regional climate on Israeli calculations.

    The Arab Spring has made Israel rethink its alliances. Egypt can no longer be counted to do as it’s told. The Boy King of Jordan will have to tone down his servitude if he wants his blood-soaked absolute monarchy to survive.

    There are forces in the Middle East though, who will do anything to maintain their power and one of those forces is Saudi Arabia.

    Might the current ‘turmoil’ and ‘instability’ drive the Saudi royal family into the arms of Israel? Surely the Saudis have no qualms about walking all over their people’s sensibilities. Perhaps recent events have given Saudi Arabia the final push they need to allow Israel to use Saudi airspace for an attack.

    Al Jazeera recently reported on Saudi-Pakistani joint military exercises. Saudi Arabia has never been interested in war, because its army exists not for national honour, but to protect the pimps running the country. Perhaps the region’s reactionary forces are preparing for climbing into bed with eachother the set region alight to secure their thrones?

    What can we do? Pray? Demand that our governments stop this from happening? Prayer is probably the only way.

  • Muhammad October 15, 2011, 9:06 AM

    Let us hope that my good friend Richard is wrong, and knowing him to the extent that I do, tells me that he wants to be in this particular case.

    But, let us also be clear about three facts.

    (1) Iran does not war with Israel or anyone else for that matter. Despite its rhetoric, the Iranian leaders have shown amazing pragmatism in doing nothing that could threaten their survival and their regime’s. Remember that these are the same guys that accepted Israel’s weapons in Iran-Contra affair.

    (2) But, if Iran is attacked, it will quickly turn into a decade or longer war that will engulf the entire region and quite possibly beyond.

    (3) No one should be under the illusion that if Israel and/or U.S. attack Iran, Iranian people will rise up and overthrow the regime. They will not, and they will fiercely defend their country. Iran is not Iraq. It has existed for thousands of years, and Iranians’ nationalism and pride in their glorious history are incredibly fierce. They will rally around the regime, as much as they are unhappy with it, not to mention that a minority, but significant portion of the population still supports the regime, and a very significant portion of the rest – such as myself – are nationalists that are willing to enter into a temporary – however long – alliance with the regime to defend their homeland.

    Iranians do want to get rid of the regime, but that is purely an internal matter for them. And, if they ever need help, it will not be from Israel or the U.S., whose track records speak for themselves.

    • Daniel F. October 16, 2011, 10:08 AM

      “”Iran does not want war with Israel or anyone else for that matter. Despite its rhetoric…..”
      Would that it were only rhetoric, Iran’s sinister meddling over the last thirty years throughout the Middle East and beyond has left a lot of bad blood.
      “….the Iranian leaders have shown amazing pragmatism in doing nothing that could threaten their survival ”
      Yes,but do they all speak with one voice,are there not those like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose future is in danger even without a war and would a limited war with the great Satan and the
      “the most detested people in all humanity” not serve to rally all Iranians (and many Sunni throughout the Middle East) around the regime as detailed by you in paragraph 3 above.

      I believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were both a huge waste. both in terms of lives lost and resources used and that the best answer to Iran was ironically, Sammam Hussein.
      A prolonged war with Iran would be more futile and should be avoided.
      War should always be the solution of last resort when all other avenues are exausted,but equally the future existence of nuclear weapons by the Iranian should not and cannot be taken lightly.
      I am reminder by the dilemma faced by JFK in Cuba and I quote him at length from his speech of October 22 1962…

      Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift, that any substantially increased possibility of their use or any sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace.
      …..is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country, if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted again by either friend or foe.
      The 1930’s taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and
      unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. This nation is opposed to war. We are also true to our
      word. Our unswerving objective, therefore, must be to prevent the use of these missiles
      against this or any other country, and to secure their withdrawal or elimination from the
      Western Hemisphere….
      ….Our policy has been one of patience and restraint, as befits a peaceful and powerful nation
      which leads a worldwide alliance. We have been determined not to be diverted from our
      central concerns by mere irritants and fanatics….
      ….My fellow citizens, let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we
      have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties
      will be incurred……But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing…..
      …The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is the one
      most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the
      world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path
      we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.

      So the question is how best to answer the threat posed by these potential Iranian weapons without “being diverted from our central concerns by mere irritants and fanatics”

      • Haver October 16, 2011, 11:40 AM

        So the question is how best to answer the threat posed by these potential Iranian weapons without “being diverted from our central concerns by mere irritants and fanatics”

        The US and Israel have a proven track record of waging wars of aggression. Both countries have hundreds of nuclear weapons.

        • Daniel F. October 18, 2011, 2:31 AM

          Shalom Haver,

          “The US and Israel have a proven track record of waging wars of aggression. Both countries have hundreds of nuclear weapons”.

          The US really did not need to invade Iraq or Afghanistan but I would not describe those wars as wars of aggression and the fiscal to the US of those wars has been high.
          Personally I feel indebted to the US and to the soldiers of the ex Soviet Union for their involvement in WW2.
          Has the US made mistakes…Yes!, has the US been arrogant in the international arena…Yes! but not be intent, more be misguided and misinformed foreign policy.
          Overall the US has throughout it’s history acted as a relatively benign power.
          Remember the USSR and let’s see how the Chinese behave as they assume the role of a world power.

          As for arsenals of nuclear weapons,I do not believe,unfortunately, that either country ( if indeed Israel has nuclear weapons) can afford not to have them.
          I have very little faith in the UN’s ability to act fairly and decisively in resolving
          international disputes.

          • Haver October 18, 2011, 4:30 AM

            The US really did not need to invade Iraq or Afghanistan but I would not describe those wars as wars of aggression

            Internal government investigations in both the US and Great Britain have revealed that the Bush and Blair regimes deliberately misled the public and falsified intelligence reports in order to launch an invasion of Iraq. Millions have been displaced and have become refugees and hundreds of thousands have been killed. The UN Security Council refused to consent to the invasion. The US occupied Afghanistan because it refused to extradite suspects and interfered in its internal affairs long after any threat from Al-Qaeda had been eliminated. So, by any definition, both were wars of aggression. See for example the Kellogg-Briand pact; Articles 19-21 of the OAS Charter; Article 2(4) of the UN Charter; United Nations General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974; and Article 8 bis 2.(a) of the Rome Statute as amended 14 June 2010.

            The UN Security Council condemned Israel’s invasion of the territory of Jordan in November 1966; the invasion of Lebanon; and the annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. After the Security Council failed to adopt sanctions, the General Assembly convened emergency special sessions and declared that Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories since 1967 in violation of UN resolutions constitutes aggression as defined by United Nations General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974.

      • Eddy Edwards October 16, 2011, 10:45 PM

        Daniel F

        It is no surprise that Americans are much despised around the world. Your brazen arrogance is testimony to this. You speak of nuclear weapons being destructive and a threat to peace, however, your country has never hesitated to use these very banned weapons on civilian populations from time immemorial and then have the gall to tell other people that they do not have a right to have them, when in fact, the only reason why the other country wants them is to prevent your imperialist country from attacking or invading as North Korea have so correctly understood.

        You speak about America’s patience and restraint as befits a peaceful and powerful nation. I humbly submit to you that you don’t know the correct meaning of the words. Because how else can we describe the bombing of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and now Libya, in terms of patience and restraint? Wasn’t there not a rush to judgement in each and every case? And certainly in the case of Libya, which was neither a threat to any of its neighbours or the U.S. your nobel war president in league with the other resource-theiving bandits, proceed to rush into this country to bomb the smitheerens out of it.

        Haven’t you noticed that post Iraq, no other country any longer fears America? Not a single country that America attacked since then has ever surrendered to the great satan; and I am putting it to you that the only time you can ever win a war is by using nuclear weapons. However despite your superior technology and weaponry you will soon suffer your most ignominious defeat; mark my words. If I know anything about Iranians, these people are not stupid; they were civilized long before Columbus made the trek across the western seas. I am quite sure that they have a few unpleasant surprises awaiting your uninvited arrival.

        • Daniel F. October 18, 2011, 2:05 AM

          Eddie Hi,

          1) I am not an American.

          2) “your country has never hesitated to use these very banned weapons on civilian populations from time immemorial”
          They were used twice to save losses from the expected fierce resistance of the Japanese to a mainland invasion.

          3)”You speak about America’s patience and restraint as befits a peaceful and powerful nation”
          I quoted JFK who spoke about patience and restraint as I believe that any reaction to Iranian provocation should come from a position of wisdom and true strength.
          There is a time to act and a time to show restraint.Now is apparently not the time to act but just as in the case of a schoolyard bully it is important to convey the message that you will act when the time is right.

  • MS October 15, 2011, 1:49 PM

    horrifying vision. I just hope that writing about it and screaming loud like you and the journalists mentioned,do-will alert the Iranians and stop Barak and Netanyahu from turning the region to a ball of fire.

  • David October 15, 2011, 4:51 PM

    The mere idea that Barck and Netanyahu could consider going their own way on this and dragging America into a conflict is just mind numbing. What does all the US money buy in Israel, other than offensive hardware, if not some modicum of subservience? Americans should be outraged that the recepient of such “aid” would snub their nose at the US and US President. Americans, even American Zionists, should be telling Israel how bad such a thing would be for “business as usual.” It is precisely the kind of thing that American public opinion can understand and which wuld offend it.

  • bezoar October 16, 2011, 8:16 AM


    A bit of OSIRAK arcana and Israel’s angst concerning it:

    At about 0300hours (local) on 6 Apr 79 unspecified individuals using five (or seven, depending on source) explosive devices, some of which may have malfunctioned, bombed the Tammuz I (OSIRAK) and Tammuz II power reactor core containment vessels at the fabricator’s facility: the Nuclear Division of Construction Navales et Industrielles de la Mediterranee at La Seyne-sur Mer, near Toulon, France. The items were secheduled for delivery to Iraq later in Apr 79. The vessels were heavily damaged. Construction of replacements was expected to take 18 months.

    The uranium to fuel the Tammuz (OSIRAK) reactors was said to have begun shortly after these bombings. Arrangements for shipment of this fuel to Iraq were said the responsibility of Yahya (Yayia, Yehia) al-Meshad (el-Meshad), who was found murdered in his Paris hotel room.

    On 7 Aug 80 the residence in France of the director of the OSIRAK Project, Jean-Jacques Graf at Technicatome, an Atomic Energy Commission subsidiary, was bombed by “The Committee to Safeguard the Islamic Revolution”, previously unknown. There was suspicion the bombing was not carried out by subnationals.

    References are available.

    Robert Mullen

  • Elaine Meyrial October 16, 2011, 9:36 AM

    Most Americans have no idea what’s happening in Israel/Palestine because MSM is completely subservient to Zionist propaganda. The NY Times and the Washington Post have capitulated completely to the powers in Washington–from the Iraq war, the Israeli/Zionist narrative, and the “threat” of Iran: nothing gets challenged.

    The Americans who do react to events in the Middle East are Jewish groups who are concerned with Israel’s future as an apartheid/”democratic” state trying to maintain religious dominance over 50% of its population. That’s where JStreet stands. I attended a rally where the organizer was concerned about Israeli troops “having to fire on nonviolent Palestinian demonstrators” (how is it going to look to the world – not isn’t that absolutely immoral).

    Fortunately, Jewish Voice for Peace is attracting those who care about human and civil rights for all people, not just Jews. And Students for Justice in Palestine is now organizing themselves on a national basis with a meeting scheduled in Washington DC this month. SJP burst on the campus scene after the Gaza catastrophe.

    Why so many anonymous posts on this site? Is questioning government policy dangerous for Jews in Israel?

    • Asaf October 17, 2011, 1:10 AM

      “Why so many anonymous posts on this site? Is questioning government policy dangerous for Jews in Israel?”

      You really want it to be that way?
      If someone desperately want’s to find out who i am (i’m no one special) he will no matter what name i’ll write. there are comments in this blog with full names and pictures, there are main stream journalists who oppose any government policy, there are Israeli bloggers and forum members all over the web that openly call Israel an Apartheid state, there are activists and protesters and they don’t try to hide their identities. maybe Israel is not a democracy but it’s not dangerous for Jews to question government policy.

      • Richard Silverstein October 17, 2011, 1:24 AM

        If you do question government policy too strongly you will get a summons for a friendly Shin Bet chat, where you will be warned that when (not if) your activism becomes illegal you will be the first one they come after. Not terribly intimidating, is it? It happened to Jonathan Pollack.

  • Daniel F. October 19, 2011, 2:29 AM


    1) Technically, a legal state of war has existed between Israel and Jordan since the beginning of the war in 1948. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan made peace in 1994.
    Following a land mine explosion which killed three Israeli policemen, Israel launched a large retaliatory raid into the West Bank, to strike at a Palestinian guerrilla base near Hebron on November 13, 1966.
    The U.S. was upset over this large attack on one of Washington’s few Arab friends (Jordan’s King Hussein) and at the lack of response to the Syrians, who were the true sponsors of most Palestinian attacks in Israel. Riots broke out in Jordan at the seemingly ineffectual response of the Jordanian military and its apparent inability to protect Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. The Samu raid inflamed Arab public opinion in the Middle East and turned out to be one of the factors leading up to the Six-Day War of 1967.

    2)”… the General Assembly convened emergency special sessions and declared that Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories since 1967 in violation of UN resolutions constitutes aggression…”
    Dammed if she defends herself and damned if she does not, Israel just cannot win…reminds me of the joke about two drunks having a fist fight, frustrated by his inability to bring the fight to a desired conclusion one drunk says to the other “Will ya stand still for a minute so I can hit ya”

    3) Kellogg-Briand pact ect…. well very interesting reading and your posts certainly are an education and yes, technically you appear to be correct ( with reservations of course)
    The Kellogg-Briand pact is actually part of federal law in the U.S. so I suppose someone could initiate some sort of legal action there, which would of course be defended against at the expense to the US taxpayer.

    4)It is sad to see what the U.N. has become and it’s inability to bring about true justice and accountability in the world.Under pressure from member states it adopts popularistic resolutions.
    Politics are as ever politics I suppose.

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