by Adam Keller
- "Ah, a barking dog doesn't bite."
- "Yes, I know it and so do you, but the question is: Does the dog know?"
Never in the annals of Israel - and only rarely in history in general – was a war talked about so much before it broke out. All moves and counter-moves and counter- counter-moves analyzed at length and in public. All the military and political and economic considerations stated openly and in detail. It quite often happens that generals are trigger-happy and exert their force to drag a reluctant political echelon into war. There are far fewer cases of the reverse, of political decision makers straining with all their might to go to war while the military remains wary and apprehensive and reluctant. But, this situation is now here.
In "Makor Rishon", one of the Israeli newspapers most identified with Binyamin Netanyahu, the commentator Ariel Kahane explained the warlike turmoil in terms of the struggle between the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the United States:
After his first meeting with Obama, Netanyahu told his aides: 'If that is how he is treating us as a freshly-elected President during his first term, when he still needs the Jewish vote, all the more he is going to clash with us should he be re-elected.’ (...) Since the post-election Obama is not to be trusted, the best timing for action is the time between now and the elections on November 6. Should Israel attack during this time, Obama might be furious, but narrow political interests would require him to come to Israel's aid. A moment before the elections Obama cannot abandon America's ally to bleed under a barrage of missiles from Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. In spite of himself he would have no choice but going to help Israel defense, otherwise he would lose the elections." [source]
A similar analysis could be heard in the past week from various sources, but a commentary article in Makor Rishon can be considered as a kind of semi-official message from the office of the Prime Minister. And if Obama does not act according to the script Netanyahu's office prepared for him? If the price of oil rises steeply and the world economy collapses and people around the world blame Israel? Well, nothing in life is without risks ...
And so, more and more people in this country are beginning to take seriously the possibility that this dog would not only bark but also bite - and in the very next coming months. They take it seriously and start to be very, very worried. And the protest movement against this war which is on our doorstep is growing apace.
The traditional demonstration on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, held at the Ministry of Defense every August 6, the hard-core advocates of nuclear demilitarization of the Middle East were this year joined by many others. Many who were roused by the drums of war. The momentum continued in a string of demonstrations at the foot of the residential tower where the Defense Minister lives (alongside some of the richest tycoons in the Israeli economy). Night after night was the tower surrounded by hundreds of protesters.
"No war with Iran". "No roulette of at least 300 Israeli dead". "No, to war for the sake of maintaining ministerial positions." "Armageddon? No, thank you". "The Defense Minister is leading us to disaster." "Bibi, you have already ruined our lives, do not terminate them." "No, no, we don't want / A government of bombers / No, no, we don't want/ A government of tyrants." "He's crazy, he's crazy, he's crazy."
Yesterday, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., the trusted representative of Netanyahu, declares that an attack on Iran would be worthwhile even if it does not destroy the nuclear program, since "even a delay of a year is significant". And in Tehran President Ahmadinejad presented his view of "A new Middle East, one without the Zionist Cancer". As if seeking deliberately to ignite the flames of war and provide Netanyahu with material for war propaganda. Maybe its' not "as if" - since an Israeli attack may finally put off the coals of internal opposition to the Iranian regime and force the bitterest opponents of the regime to join in "national unity".
Today I saw on the bulletin board at my Holon home an urgent call for the residents to remove their belongings from the air raid shelter at the bottom of the building, so that it could fulfill its function in case of aerial bombardments …
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|William A. Cook|