I’m not disputing the facts, only the way they were spun and manipulated to mask the total freeze and inaction on other fronts. The Iranians are definitely up to something, and it is indeed imperative that Israel and the world are aligned to deal with the potential threat, but the volume and frequency of the alarm bells suspiciously outrun any logical proportion. Bombing routes, types of required ammunition, take-off bases in Kazakhstan, different and ever changing schedules – all created a doomsday scenario that managed to focus everyone’s attention on one focal point.
We so easily forget things, but only a few months ago, Defense Minister Barak was talking of March 2013 as the cut-off date after which Iran’s program could no longer be reliably damaged by an aerial attack. That’s only a few months ahead, yet there is absolutely no chatter about it, in the media, or outside it. Netanyahu himself presented the U.N with his famous cartoon poster, suggesting that this coming spring Iran will have reached the so-called red line in its nuclear weapon plans.
I’ll give him credit where it’s due – the world (i.e. U.S and Europe) responded to Netanyahu’s outcry with a series of sanctions against Iran, and I can only wish he would show the same amount of activism on other crucial issues. But the smoke screen he created quickly dissipated following the “Pillar of Cloud” operation, the Palestinian U.N move, and the recent idiotic construction declarations. Israel has never been so isolated, and what makes this situation especially dangerous for Israel is the fact that the world has never before been so distracted on the one hand (economic crisis), and wary on the other. Simply put, the world has had enough, and is tired of the constant Israeli – Palestinian bickering. Any quick resolution will now receive international backing, even a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence.
Allow me to be presumptuous and propose a recipe for extracting Israel from its current position, taking into consideration Netanyahu’s inevitable re-election:
- Netanyahu gets re-elected with enough mandates to make a policy shift
- Using his momentum, he builds a left-center coalition with the Labor party, and other new center parties, discarding his traditional right/religious political allies, en route to forging a new relationship with Obama and Europe
- He re-iterates his support for the two-state solution, and declares Israel’s willingness to return to the negotiation table without any pre-conditions from both sides, forcing Abu-Mazen’s hand, and countering any additional unilateral initiatives
- He apologizes to Turkey over the Marmara incident, re-establishing the strategic relationship he carelessly neglected, and strengthening the moderate forces in the region