The headlines are stark indeed. “Israel Readies a Pre-Emptive Strike.” Israeli Prime Minister is said to be working to persuadereluctant members of his coalition Cabinet to go along with such a military option against Islamist Iran. The Huffington Post’s Britishedition reports Netanyahu saying this:
"One of those regional powers is Iran, which is continuing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would constitute a gravethreat to the Middle East and the entire world, and of course it is a directand grave threat on us." One day later, defense minister Ehud Barak, struck a similar tone." A situation could be created in the Middle East in which Israel mustdefend its vital interests in an independent fashion, without necessarilyhaving to reply on other forces, regional or otherwise,” he said.
Ehud Barak’s comments are most interesting. He was the Labor Party Prime Minister in 2000 who offered the Palestinians 97% of the territory they claimedas theirs, reserving only those limited regions thought absolutely essential toIsraeli security. The Palestinians balked and commenced yet another “intifada” uprising. The leaders of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) then wouldrather send stone-throwing teenagers to confront armed Israeli soldiers andtanks than engage in serious negotiations for peace.
Ehud Barak could qualify as an Israeli “dove,” but he is first andforemost a soldier and an Israeli patriot. It’s not so surprising that thehawkish Benjamin Netanyahu should be talking of a military strike against Iran. When Ehud Barak joins this conversation, you know it’s serious.
This is a most serious situation. No one knows what might happen if Israel strikes the Iranian nuclear weapons research stations. What is clear is that theefforts of the Obama administration to restrain Iran over the past three yearshave been an utter failure.
After extending an “open hand instead of a clenched fist” to the Iranianmullahs, President Obama saw his proffered olive branch stomped into the dust.He even sent Persian New Year greetings to the Iranian people and their dictatorial rulers. WhenIranians rose up in the streets following fraudulent elections in June, 2009,the Obama administration weakly claimed it did not want to “interfere” with aninternal matter for Iran. The fact that Iran is daily interfering with internalaffairs all over the Middle East seemed not to faze this administration.