Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s life mission – attacking Iran to save Israel – has become impossible. It’s over.
It has to be said clearly. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s life’s mission – attacking Iran to save Israel – has become impossible. It’s over.
To most Israelis, this doesn’t seem earthshattering. Most of them never believed the attack would happen. But most of them don’t know how much Netanyahu wants the attack. It’s not bluff or rhetoric. The desire is still there, and Netanyahu devotes most of his time to it. He bases his decisions on it. But now it can never happen.
Months after the storm broke in the region, we called it “the Turkish Middle East.” From Pakistan to Morocco – including Israel, of course – the repression was over. Three fundamental pillars rose to the surface: a religious foundation containing a racist-messianic force, but with a degree of calculation; a pragmatic military-economic establishment and a large, young population that longs for freedom and wants to live. And, as in Turkey, this trio seeks a viable balance.
The drama in Iran and in Egypt in the past few weeks set the picture. No element, no matter how radical, can avoid understanding that these millions of people want to live. Just as we had to listen to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, we must now listen to his successor, Hassan Rohani. His calls for equality, freedom of expression and an absence of religious coercion are not a smokescreen or a plot. They are the consequence of the majority’s desire for life.
Those who are attached to the world of “masculine” language can speak of an Israeli victory. The principal Israeli position (whose most recent proponent at the top was former Defense Minister Ehud Barak ) – that Israel must postpone wars as long as possible in the hope that time would have a moderating effect, and force should only be used when all other options were exhausted and there was a clear chance of success – proved itself. It’s not a personal matter. The quartet of the former army and intelligence chiefs Gabi Ashkenazi, Meir Dagan, Yuval Diskin and Amos Yadlin bought time and counterbalanced the threats of Barak. In contrast to Netanyahu, Barak intended to apply pressure via international action, which in turn contributed to Iran’s decision to choose life.
It must be said clearly. The choice is not between bombing Iran and Iran’s obtaining a bomb. The choice is between a bombing that will bring an Iranian bomb much closer and set off a messianic regional escalation and the continued application of pressure together with a genuine contribution to regional calm in the form of peace talks, in accordance with the doctrine that brought Yitzhak Rabin to Oslo. This process would significantly delay Iran’s joining of the nuclear club.
Two conditions must be met before an attack can be considered: There must be a clear and certain threat from a “crazy” regime, and Israel must have an independent capability to thwart it for the long term. At present, these conditions exist only at the level of hallucination. Just as Israel was incapable of attacking Pakistan, and just as it cannot attack Turkey should it become a threshold state, it cannot attack Iran because its people are choosing life and don’t want to commit nuclear suicide.
No one has the authority to order the Israel Defense Forces to do something it cannot do using conventional means and whose long-term efficacy depends on a follow-on attack by the United States, which has promised not to let itself be dragged in. Even those who believe U.S. President Barack Obama is part of the Muslim Brotherhood must understand that Israeli pressure contributed to a delay that will keep Iran on the nuclear threshold through the end of his presidency.
In the meantime, we would do best to look inward. In the Turkish Middle East, Israel is not the last country in which “the Brotherhood” is gaining power. To the contrary, it is an internal and regional threat of the first order: Gog and Magog from the Temple Mount to Tehran.
Above all, we must keep looking at Netanyahu, who says he divides his time 70 percent security, 20 percent economic and 10 percent political. The peace process isn’t mentioned. The entire objective of the so-called peace process is an attack.
This is what led to a year of negotiations, so that putting off the attack on Iran as a result of Rohani’s election could be attributed to a softening of foreign policy. That the attack has become impossible does not mean that it will not happen, from the perspective of the man who orchestrated the “with blood and fire we will expel Rabin” demonstrations against the prime minister, defense minister and IDF chief of staff.
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