Saturday, March 17, 2012

A rehearsal towards the bombing of Iran?

Last week, several hours after the assassination in Gaza and the escalation which followed, I took part in drafting a press release on behalf of Gush Shalom, in which was raised the possibility that the escalation was initiated by the government of Israel as a dress rehearsal towards the war in Iran, which Prime Minister Netanyahu is eager to launch, and/or as a "consolation prize" for not having gotten an  American authorization to launch that war.

Journalist  Ze'ev Kam published a furious reaction on the NRG Ma'ariv website.

The site gave me the right of response.
The translation of my response follows.

Immediately after returning from his meeting in the U.S., Netanyahu sent planes to bomb Gaza. Pure coincidental? That is far from certain.  A response to Ze'ev Kam.

Ze'ev Kam seems flabbergasted. How dare Gush Shalom even consider  the possibility that there might be a causal link between the Prime Minister's speech offensive in Washington and the bombing offensive in Gaza which followed a few days later? What the hell – how can these two events have anything at all to do with each other?

Well, every newspaper reader in the world knows that Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants, dreams, seeks and aspires with his whole being to send the Air Force of the State of Israel to a massive bombing of Iran. We all know that he regards such an attack on Iran as virtually his lifework. We all know that he went to Washington to get U.S. approval to launch this war – and that he did not get it.

For all his fine words at the AIPAC conference, President Obama in effect asked Netanyahu to avoid launching an attack which among other things might result in bringing the shaky world economy crashing down, doubling or tripling the price of oil .

So, the Prime Minister returns from Washington, feeling a lot of frustration – and just after he landed at Ben Gurion Airport, the Air Force was sent off on a mission for which there does exist a US authorization,  against those considered to be the local partners of the Iranian villains.  A pure coincidence? The attack and "liquidation" cause an immediate flaring up of the Gaza Strip border region, driving a million Israelis to the air-raid shelters - as was well known in advance that it would. So clear was it, that already prior to the liquidation, the "Iron Dome" anti-missile missiles were moved south – pre-positioned so as to be ready to intercept the expected retaliatory Palestinian missiles, to stand the test of action under optimal operational conditions.

A test which is definitely required and essential for the great war in Iran, if and when the Americans ever give approval for it. According to one report I read, it was even made sure that the "liquidation" in Gaza be carried out under the appropriate weather conditions – i.e., with no clouds in the sky, which is when the "Iron Dome" works best.

Despite the liquidation, warnings about a Sinai attack remain in force

It is a fact that the experiment succeeded and the Iron Dome performed quite well in conditions of actual action. Inhabitants of the South underwent several difficult days of anxiety, but thankfully none of them  was killed.  Indeed, the Iron Dome stood the test above expectations and intercepted ninety percent of the missiles launched, which is an encouraging sign for the far bigger test awaiting this weapons system  during the coming Iran War (hopefully, none of us will happen to be where the other ten percent falls).

True, some migrant workers from Thailand, who came here for their families' livelihood, were seriously injured and will carry scars for life. And on the other side of the border, despite the surgical precision of the bombing, in one place a boy was killed, and in another place a sixty year old father and his thirty year daughter were killed when their car was hit. Well, such things happen. But overall, the experimental test  certainly went well.

But wait, what about the ticking bomb? Ze'ev Kam wrote that the liquidation had been necessary, in order to "eliminate a ticking bomb that was on its way towards the next terrorist attack, firing a missile or exploding a bomb." But with all due respect, Mr. Kam, I must confuse you with facts: No one asserted that the people riding in an Opel, which was blown up by our air force, were on their way to make any such attack. They were not themselves "a ticking bomb".

The IDF Spokesperson claimed that one of them, the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, was involved in planning an attack on Israel through the Sinai border. And now, when this "targeted assassination" did take place and the residents of southern Israel were huddling in shelters for nearly a week (as did the people of Gaza) - was  the attack on the Sinai border prevented? Not exactly – in his concluding review of the successful confrontation on the Gaza border,   IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz confirmed alerts about a potential attack on the Sinai border remain in force.

To what can I compare it? Excuse me for making such an outrageous comparison, but suppose the heroic commandos the IDF's elite Sayeret Matkal  were planning to take action against despicable terrorists.  Suppose the villainous terrorists somehow got wind of it and, God forbid, were able to carry out a targeted assassination and liquidate  commander of Sayeret Matkal as he was driving a car through the streets of Tel Aviv along with an officer of the unit.

Would the liquidation of their  beloved commanding officer deter the commandos of this renowned unit from carrying out the action planned - or vice versa, would it have the effect of giving them an even greater motivation and determination to carry it out anyway? And is it not possible that our cousins ​​in Gaza would think and act in the same way?