Oh hum. It began as just another day in Jerusalem, but it ended with an Israel-shaking event. The left old time Zionist Labor Party formed a coalition with the [what they call] vile Fascist Likud.
Only in Israel, the pundits mutter. What are peaceniks doing with a nest of neocon hawks?
In the aftermath of the Gaza fighting, the voters had swung to the right. The Likud won't consider a two-state solution or the cessation of West Bank settlement building. They had formed a quick alliance with the extreme right wing secular and religious [Shas] parties. The American Israel bashers and Palestinian lovers went into a tizzy predicting nuclear war with Iran. When they accused me of being a Zionist, I realized they knew nothing about Israel. [I have belonged to Shas for many years.]
Then, why have Israeli doves united with the hawks?
Here's the story behind the story.
Taking Out Nukes without Nukes
Arak is considered one of Iran's key nuclear sites that is believed to contain a heavy water reactor. A Washington think-tank issued a report on Tuesday which said that conventional ballistic missiles could be Israel's weapon of choice against Iranian nuclear facilities if it decides on a pre-emptive attack and deems air strikes too risky.
Israel is widely assumed to have Jericho missiles capable of hitting Iran with an accuracy of a few dozen meters (yards) from target. Such a capability would be free of warplanes' main drawbacks - limits on fuel and ordnance, and perils to pilots.
Extrapolating from analyst assessments that the most advanced Jerichos carry 750 kg (1,650 lb) conventional warheads, Abdullah Toukan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said 42 missiles would be enough to "severely damage or demolish" Iran's core nuclear sites at Natanz, Esfahan and Arak.
During a visit to Washington, D.C., Ashkenazi met with Dennis Ross, the designated U.S. envoy to the Persian Gulf, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the Iranian issue.
The IDF chief told Ross that Israel would not tolerate a nuclear Iran. He said that a diplomatic approach to Iran's contentious nuclear program must be taken first, but said Israel must also prepare for other possibilities.
Ashkenazi also met during his trip with General James Jones, national security adviser to President Barack Obama, to discuss other Middle East issues. The IDF chief held a number of other meetings over the course of his visit, but was forced to turn down an invitation to dine at the home of outgoing Israeli envoy Salai Meridor, in the company of other senior American officials.
While in New York, Ashkenazi attended an event sponsored by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and attended by some 1,500 donors.
Thus, Israel does not need to nuke Iran. She can demolish the Iranian facilities with conventional warheads, which pleases Likud. She can avoid massive nuclear destruction, which pleases Labor.
Obama should have it so easy to unite with Blue Dog Democrats.
The Pact between Israel's Two Most Hated Men
Ari Shavit, Haaretz
Netanyahu and Barak's immediate mission is Iran. The designated prime minister and defense minister do not have much time. Within a few months they must do what hasn't been done for years - recruit the international community to impose an economic-diplomatic siege on Tehran's ayatollahs. Entering Obama's Oval Office alongside Barak, instead of Avigdor Lieberman, will greatly improve Netanyahu's power of persuasion. But if it happens that the United States is not ready to take the chestnuts out of the fire, Netanyahu and Barak will have to prepare Israel for harsh scenarios. Nobody in Israel's leadership is more suited or capable than these two.
Reuters: Russia Supplies Air-Defense Missiles to Iraq http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072007.html
IDF Gives US Fresh Intel on Iran Nukes
Iran Increasing pro-Hezbollah Activities in South America
Reuters: Israel May Attack Iran With Ballistic Missiles
UN General Assembly Pres Accuses US of Demonizing Iran [AP]
*Aljazeera coverage of Likud/Labor coalition