Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Alarmist Israeli statements about Iran do not necessarily reflect the strategic thinking of Israeli national security officials. Jerusalem's veiled threats to attack Iran's nuclear facilities are also at odds with its internal assessment of the feasibility and desirability of such an attack
By Gareth Porter
"WASHINGTON - When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared last week that his country could not risk another "existential threat" such as the Nazi Holocaust, he was repeating what has become the dominant theme in Israel's campaign against Tehran - that it cannot tolerate an Iran with the technology that could be used to make nuclear weapons, because Iran is fanatically committed to the physical destruction of Israel.
The internal assessment by the Israeli national-security apparatus of the Iranian threat, however, is more realistic than the government's public rhetoric would indicate......
Occasionally, Israeli officials do let slip indications that their fears of Iran are less extreme than the "second Holocaust" rhetoric would indicate. In November, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh explained candidly in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that the fear was not that such weapons would be launched against Israel but that the existence of nuclear capability would interfere with Israel's recruitment of new immigrants and cause more Israelis to emigrate to other countries.
Sneh declared that Ahmadinejad could "kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button. That's why we must prevent this regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs."......
In the end, the Israelis know they are dependent on the US to carry out a strike against Iran. And the US is the target of an apocalyptic Israeli portrayal of Iran that diverges from the internal Israeli assessment."
"....but that the existence of nuclear capability would interfere with Israel's recruitment of new immigrants and cause more Israelis to emigrate to other countries.....kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button"
This goes to the heart of Israel's reasoning that it has to remain the dominant power in the region. It will not tolerate the emergence of any other power, be it Iraq, Iran or any combination of Arab states. All other rationalization is nothing but hot air.