I’m not talking Shekels – I’m talking dead Jews.
That’s the stark choice facing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he contemplates the prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. But, then that’s why we pay him the big bucks. Actually, not SUCH big bucks. After the recent increase he earns around 42,000 Shekels a month – about the level of a senior company manager. Not so much when you consider how many lives are in his hands.
Following his recent meeting with President Obama, and their speeches to the AIPAC gathering, it is reasonable to assume that we are talking “when” and not “ïf” regarding military action against Iran. The problem is not whether Iran will, or will not, have a nuclear weapon. In this case, the potential threat is almost as serious as the reality. The security umbrella cover that the threat of possessing a weapon provides to the Iranian proxies of Hezbullah and Hamas, emboldens them to consider actions that they otherwise would not contemplate.
I don’t think that anyone in Israel has any illusions about the consequences of a strike against Iran. We will suffer thousands of casualties and untold damage to property and infrastructure. It is strangely ironic to be contemplating this scenario on the eve of Purim, not because of any biblical parallels, but because it is exactly 21 years ago, on Purim 1991, that the first Gulf War ended,
Then, finally, Israelis could leave their sealed rooms, put away the gas masks, and not live in fear of the nightly sirens heralding yet more Scud missiles on their way from Iraq. Of course, the number of missiles was miniscule compared to the thousands of sophisticated rockets we can expect next time. Even though, in that war, few died as a direct result of a missile strike, over 200 Israelis were injured and 4000 were left homeless in the immediate aftermath.
Before the world blames Israel for any actions it might take soon, and complains about the effect of those actions on world security, or the price of oil, it should reflect on its own culpability. Let me quote part of Security Council resolution 1701 related to the ending of the Second Lebanon War in 2006:
The Resolution calls for “full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.”
And what actions did the world take to enforce the terms of that resolution? Next to nothing! A token UN force which was supposed to ensure the implementation of the resolution proved worse than impotent in the face of Hezbollah resistance. So Hezbollah expanded their stockpile of rockets, transported openly from Iran through Syria, and the world stood idly by.
Similarly in Gaza, the other Iranian proxy, Hamas, proceeded on the same path. Israeli attempts to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza were greeted with howls of condemnation, even if we only bombed empty smuggling tunnels.
So, if the world suffers, alongside Israel, as a result of our attempt to ensure that the Jewish state will have a future, it will only have itself to blame. We will bear the brunt of the consequences of our actions, and it will be one of the most difficult and traumatic periods since the founding of the state.
Unfortunately, we do not appear to have any good options. Just a bad option – and a worse option. No-one can envy the dilemma of our Prime Minister – damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He knows that sanctions against Iran are not working, and cannot work within any reasonable time frame. For sure he doesn’t want to go down in history as the man responsible for the end of the Jewish state.
The hard truth is that Israel can more than withstand a non nuclear strike. Whatever the damage the rockets cause, and whatever the human dimension, Israel is strong enough to get through it. On the positive side, it will provide us with the opportunity to destroy both Hezbollah and Hamas, maybe permanently. Of course, the collateral damage to both Lebanon and Gaza is the price they will have to pay for allowing and encouraging these Iranian proxies to flourish.
I have heard it said that it took the Germans a generation to achieve the destruction of 6 million Jews. If the Iranian leadership is not stopped now in their quest for a nuclear bomb, the destruction of the next 6 million would only take minutes.
So that’s the horrific arithmetic: Thousands now – or Millions later.
I’m glad it’s not me that has to make the decision.
Andyboy – Telling it as it is
- Iran: We will help ‘cut out the cancer of Israel’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Is the Israeli home front ready for war with Iran? (jta.org)
- Netanyahu invokes horrors of Holocaust, declares Israel’s right to ‘defend itself, by itself’ (news.nationalpost.com)