Would Israel go to all the trouble it has pumping up a death match with Iran, all in order to distract the world from its oppression of Palestinians? Avigdor Lieberman made precisely such a statement to Haaretz after his visit to the UN:
Lieberman said he met with Arab foreign ministers while at the United Nations last week and said they expressed their alarm over Iran’s nuclear program to him.
“Nobody is worried about the Palestinian problem, everybody in the Muslim and Arab world, and first and foremost in the Gulf states, are worried about the Iranian problem,” he said.
Would Israel risk bringing the Middle East to the brink of all-out war (in the event of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities) to ease pressure on it to negotiate with the Palestinians? It seems far-fetched. But Yvette said it, I didn’t. And it makes perfect sense if Bibi’s ultimate goal is the prevent a Palestinian state at all costs and delay the start of any negotiation process.
The effect of yesterday’s announcement that Iran has a second nuclear processing facility that may be designed to produce weapons grade uranium is yet another gift dropped into Bibi’s lap. The first was Obama’s announcement that he’d essentially thrown in the towel over the whole concept of a settlement freeze. If Bibi’s second goal after torpedoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians is also causing immense misery for Iran, this is his lucky week.
He’s calling for “punishing sanctions” against Iran. Do we remember what such draconian policy wrought on Iraq before Saddam’s demise? Did it cause his regime to crumble? No. What did it do? Killed hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and elderly. And that’s what we can expect in Iran. So a people who saw its own children perish in the Holocaust will now eagerly bring similar privation on Iran’s young.
This is also an Iranian regime which Israel’s defense minister conceded last week does not pose an existential threat to Israel. In fact, Ehud Barak said that Israel, if it had to, could live with an Iran that possessed nuclear weapons. And why shouldn’t it? Have the Arab states lived with Israel as a nuclear state for decades? If they can do so why shouldn’t Israel be able to do the same? Pro-Israel advocates here argue that there is a qualitative difference between the two states. The mullahs are mad, willing to incinerate their nation in nuclear ash for the sake of annihilating Israel. Iran supposedly is a nation of religious fanatics. While Israel is a reasonable state wishing nothing more than peace with its neighbors and getting nothing less than incessant hatred in return.
Well, you’ll have to pardon us for taking issue with these characterizations. Iran is not the ogre the Israel lobby and Bibi make it out to be. Nor is Israel the bastion of enlightenment and reasoned discourse its advocates make it out to be. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Which is why Israel will likely have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran.
The only alternative would be a nuclear free Middle East with world powers guaranteeing the security of all the major states in the region, but especially Israel. I don’t see Israel giving up its nuclear weapons on any account. But if it wishes to retain them, then it can hardly expect the world to care when it screams bloody murder at Muslim states getting the bomb.