Saving Israel from Saving Itself

Time is short. Everyone knows that the window when Israel can act on its own is between today and November. And the clock is ticking.  According to Haaretz; “The NIE, (National Intelligence Estimate just received by President Obama), report contends that Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program.” Each day of inaction the capacity for Israel to inflict long term damage on the Iranian nuclear program diminishes.

On the other side is the knowledge that there will be a reaction from Iran that may include missiles fired at Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. That there may be regional and international attacks launched against Israel and quite possibly Western targets and as it states in the Times of Israel; “Diplomatically, an Israeli strike would prompt a confrontation with the US, global protests, international isolation for Israel, delegitimization, and a situation in which Israel was seen as the aggressor. But if Iran got the bomb, Israel would be defeated and humiliated diplomatically, and would become a liability to the US, the TV report, (on Israel’s Channel 2), said Israel’s two key leaders believe.”

While there are other opinions that have been expressed by cabinet ministers and ex-security chiefs that weigh on the psychology of national defense and Israel’s own understanding of existential threats it is the recent words of its own Prime Minister that provide the most telling account of the danger that Israel faces: “It becomes clear time after time that when it comes to the safety of Israeli citizens, Israel must and can rely only on itself. No one can fulfill this role except the IDF and different Israel security forces of Israel, and we will continue to conduct ourselves in this way,” Netanyahu said. [As quoted in the Times of Israel]

While there is an article in Foreign Affairs by Professor Kenneth Waltz promoting the idea of creating a balance of nuclear power entitled; “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb,” most serious observers in the international community recognize Iran’s nuclear ambition as a route to regional hegemony and international power that must be stopped. They realize that the imposition of increasingly tough sanctions has not worked.  Thus the clock is still ticking both toward Iran’s development of weapons grade uranium and Israel’s inevitable response.

It appears the only solution that can stop the clock is a unique agreement between the United States, Russia, China, France and additional European Union, United Nations and Arab League members that together impose an unprecedented system of economic, military and diplomatic sanctions that are in fact severe enough to cripple the ability of Iran to function both internationally and domestically. The United States must publicly act to leverage this program into place immediately taking all the risks necessary or as the saying goes open the gates of hell and welcome all that is to come.


The words here represent the beliefs of the author and should not be construed as the policy of the Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace.

About the Author
Larry Snider is President of the Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace, an NGO based in Philadelphia that brings the faiths together to learn about and from each other and to build a new constituency for Middle East Peace.