Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What exactly is Israel?

By the Saker

"Israel will not tolerate the possibility of a nuclear Iran"

Ehud Olmert, AIPAC 2008 Conference

These are amazing words indeed. Ten words which speak volumes and who say more about the nature of the state of Israel then many books.

The key words here are, of course, Israel, tolerate and possibility.

What exactly does Olmert mean by "Israel will "? We know for sure what he does *not* mean. He does not mean anything multilateral since he clearly says that Israel will not tolerate. He does not say "the world", or "the United Nations", or "the IAEA", or the "UNSC" or the NTP Treaty signatory countries. One can hadly blame him for that since Israel is in violation of more UN resolutions than all other countries taken together, since Israel is not even a member of the NTP and since it does not allow for IAEA inspections in Israel. Nor is Israel a member of NATO or of any other formal treaty with either Europe or the USA. Olmert, therefore, logically indicates that Israel intends to act alone.

Ok. Then what does he mean by "not tolerate"? Well, clearly this means "will not accept". But it goes beyond that. It does not just mean "will not condone" or "will never approve of". It means "will do whatever it takes to prevent" and that can only mean one thing: the use of force.

But here we are faced with a puzzle, a seeming contradiction. Israel can choose to tolerate or not tolerate, but the fact is that Israel does simply not have the means to prevent Iran from working on its nuclear program, whether civilian or a putative nuclear one. For all the sabre rattling from Israel and for all the illiterate references to the 1997 bombing of the Osirak reactor in Iraq, the truth is that Israel does not have the reach and the resources to meaningfully attack the Iranian nuclear program infrastructure. Bombing one reactor near Baghdad is one thing, destroying the large, well protected and dispersed Iranian nuclear facilities in Iran is quite another. Sure, the Israelis might use a combination of airstrikes and cruise missiles to damage some facilities, but that is not anywhere near enough to actually damage the Iranian program.

So how can Israel "not tolerate"? The answer is obvious: it will use US military forces to accomplish this mission. But notice that Olmert does not say "we", or "the USA and Israel". He just says "Israel". What does that tell us about the real owners and commanders of the US military machine?

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