Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear capability and if time begins to run out, Jerusalem will not hesitate to take whatever means necessary to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear goals, the government has recently decided in a special discussion.
According to the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, whether the United States and Western countries succeed in thwarting the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions diplomatically, through sanctions, or whether a US strike on Iran is eventually decided upon, Jerusalem has begun preparing for a separate, independent military strike.
So far, Israel has not received American authorization to use US-controlled Iraqi airspace, nor has the defense establishment been successful in securing the purchase of advanced US-made warplanes which could facilitate an Israeli strike.
The Americans have offered Israel permission to use a global early warning radar system, implying that the US is pushing Israel to settle for defensive measures only.
Because of Israel’s lack of strategic depth, Jerusalem has consistently warned in recent years that it will not settle for a ‘wait and see’ approach, merely retaliating to an attack, but will rather use preemption to prevent any risk of being hit in the first place.
Ephraim Sneh a veteran Labor MK who has recently left the party, has reportedly sent a document to both US presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama. The eight-point document states that “there is no government in Jerusalem that would ever reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran. When it is clear Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, an Israeli military strike to prevent this will be seriously considered.”
MK Ephraim Sneh.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
According to Ma’ariv, Sneh offered the two candidates the “sane, cheap and the only option that does not necessitate bloodshed.” To prevent Iran’s nuclear aspirations, Sneh wrote, “real” sanctions applied by the US and Europe were necessary. A total embargo in spare parts for the oil industry and a total boycott of Iranian banks would promptly put an end to the regime, which is already pressured by a sloping economy and would be toppled by the Iranian people if they have outside assistance, he said.
The window of opportunity Sneh suggests is a year and a half to two years, until 2010.
Sneh also visited Switzerland and Austria last week in an attempt to lobby them against the Iranian threat. Both countries have announced massive long-term investments in Iranian gas and oil fields for the next decade.
“Talk of the Jewish Holocaust and Israel’s security doesn’t impress these guys,” Sneh said wryly.
Hearing his hosts speak of their future investments, Sneh replied quietly “it’s a shame, because Ido will light all this up.” He was referring to Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, the recently appointed IAF commander and the man most likely to be the one to orchestrate Israel’s attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, should this become a necessity.
“Investing in Iran in 2008,” Sneh told his Austrian hosts, “is like investing in the Krupp steelworks in 1938, it’s a high risk investment.” The Austrians, according to Sneh, turned pale.
In related news, a top official said Friday that
Iran had increased the number of operating centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant to 4,000.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, who visited the Natanz plant last week, said that Iran was preparing to install even more centrifuges, though he did not offer a timeframe.
“Right now, nearly 4,000 centrifuges are operating at Natanz,” Attar told the state news agency IRNA. “Currently, 3,000 other centrifuges are being installed.”
Meanwhile, the pan-Arabic Al Kuds al Arabi reported Friday that Iran had equipped Hizbullah with longer range missiles than those it possessed before the Second Lebanon War and had also improved the guerrilla group’s targeting capabilities.
According to the report, which The Jerusalem Post could not verify independently, Hizbullah was planning a massive rocket onslaught on targets reaching deep into Israel’s civilian underbelly in case Israel launches an attack on Iran.
AP contributed to this report
Updated Aug 30, 2008 16:50
Source: The Jerusalem Post