Striking Iran (JERUSALEM POST EDITORIAL) 08/13/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
If the media are to be believed, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are intent on attacking Iran’s
nuclear facilities this fall. In the meantime, the cabinet has
expanded the prime minister’s powers to push through important
The Prime Minister’s Office said this would improve governance, but
opposition leaders described the move as undemocratic, saying that
critical decisions – such as ordering a strike on Iran – should be
taken only after a meaningful debate in the cabinet.
According to Channel 2, Netanyahu and Barak are on the brink of
making a decision on Iran because they don’t expect the US to take
military action, certainly not before its November elections.
The Obama administration has repeatedly urged Israel to allow more
time for international sanctions and talks to halt Iran’s nuclear
drive. And despite Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s tough talk on
Iran, government officials doubt that if he were elected, he would be
able to take any action in his first year as president.
A front-page article in Yediot Aharonot on Friday claimed
that “Netanyahu and Barak are determined to attack Iran in the
The daily’s two top commentators, Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer,
claimed – without revealing their sources – that the aim of an
initial Israeli attack on Iran could be to encourage the US to join
in. But Barak, they said, was of the opinion that Washington would
not go to war, and would do everything in its power to stop one.
Netanyahu – according to Channel 2’s respected diplomatic reporter,
Udi Segal – is convinced that the only way to foil the Iranian
leadership’s plan to destroy the Jewish people is to thwart its
nuclear ambitions, even if only for a few years.
Segal, who also did not divulge his sources, reported that both
Netanyahu and Barak fear that in a matter of just a few months, it
will be too late to stop Iran. They see the window of opportunity
closing, and think we may have reached the moment of truth.
On Sunday, papers ranging from the left-wing Haaretz to the right-
wing Israel HaYom cited US and Israeli sources as saying that Iran
had significantly escalated its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, both US and Israeli intelligence supported this
If additional press reports that the country – especially the home
front – is not ready for a war are to be believed, we have even more
reason to be concerned.
It should be noted that the offices of both Netanyahu and Barak
declined comment on these and other press reports of an imminent
Israeli attack on Iran. They were, however, probably leaked by
sources close to the prime minister and defense minister – or,
alternatively, by officials who oppose Israeli military action.
Whatever the case, they should be taken seriously, and the Israeli
public must consider the possibility that such action might be
Asked about the latest media reports on Iran by Israel Radio on
Sunday, cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser’s answer was oblique. “There is
too much attribution of manipulation, which does not exist, to this
or that official,” Hauser said.
“There are a great many things that are just as they are, for better
Where, then, does that leave us? The prime minister said at the
cabinet meeting on Sunday: “The threat to the home front is dwarfed
by another threat – Iranian nuclear power.”
This comment reinforced his statement during a tour of the southern
border last week that Israel cannot put its fate in anyone else’s
“Israel must and can rely only on itself,” he declared. “No one can
perform this role except the IDF and various Israeli security forces,
and we will continue to conduct ourselves in this way.”
Netanyahu is undoubtedly correct, but Israel must keep the US – its
most important ally – in the loop regarding any action against Iran,
without giving up its right to make independent decisions.
Secondly, such fateful decisions should be made in consultation with
the cabinet, together with the relevant security officials, behind
closed doors, and not by the prime minister and defense minister
Finally, the public and the press must be given basic information on
what their role is, in the event of an Israeli strike, especially
when it comes to the home front. Otherwise, the media will continue
to feed public hysteria, which is certainly not desirable if we are
in fact bracing for such a scenario. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY