War : Iran : Israel plays Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove


Richard Moore

    "If we have to do it, we'll do it," he said with a shrug. "If
    the United States and the world community do it, there is a
    chance the issue can be contained. If Israel has to do it
    alone, there is no chance the conflict can be contained."


Israelis urge U.S. to stop Iran's nuke goals 

By David R. Sands 


Published September 30, 2005 

The United States and its allies must act to stop Iran's
nuclear programs -- by force if necessary -- because
conventional diplomacy will not work, three senior Israeli
lawmakers from across the political spectrum warned yesterday.

As a last resort, they said, Israel itself would act
unilaterally to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.

Iran will not be deterred "by anything short of a threat of
force," said Arieh Eldad, a member of Israel's right-wing
National Union Party, part of a delegation of Knesset members
visiting Washington this week.

"They won't be stopped unless they are convinced their
programs will be destroyed if they continue," he said.

Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee, said the best hope was for the United
States and other major powers to make it clear to Iranian
leaders now there was "no chance they will ever see the fruits
of a nuclear program."

"Threats of sanctions and isolation alone will not do it,"
said Mr. Steinitz.

Yosef Lapid, head of the centrist opposition Shinui Party in
the Knesset, added that Israel "will not live under the threat
of an Iranian nuclear bomb."

"We feel we are obliged to warn our friends that Israel should
not be pushed into a situation where we see no other solution
but to act unilaterally" against Iran, he said.

Mr. Steinitz, a member of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's ruling
Likud Party, stopped just short of a direct threat to bomb
suspect Iranian nuclear sites.

Mr. Steinitz said Israeli officials estimate that Tehran is
only two to three years away from developing a nuclear bomb
and that time was running out for the world to act.

"We see an Iranian bomb as a devastating, existential threat
to Israel, to the entire Middle East, to all Western interests
in the region," he said.

"Despite all the different circumstances, we see similarities
to what happened in the 1930s, when people underestimated the
real problem or focused on other dangers. For us, either the
world will tackle Iran in advance or all of us will face the

The Bush administration has led the diplomatic campaign to
pressure Iran, claiming the Islamic regime for two decades has
secretly pursued a nuclear arsenal. The board of the U.N.'s
nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna over the weekend concluded
Iran had violated international pledges on its nuclear
programs and said the matter could be referred to the U.N.
Security Council.

Iranian officials harshly condemned the resolution and insist
the country has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program
to meet its energy needs.

Israel has acted unilaterally before to halt a nuclear program
by a hostile neighbor, bombing Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981.
Widely condemned at the time, the surprise raid is now
credited with dealing a major setback to Saddam Hussein's
nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Eldad said Israelis across the political spectrum see Iran
as the country's most serious threat and one that cannot be

But he added that unilateral action by Israel was the "worst
possible scenario," likely to inflame opinion throughout the
Muslim world.

"If we have to do it, we'll do it," he said with a shrug. "If
the United States and the world community do it, there is a
chance the issue can be contained. If Israel has to do it
alone, there is no chance the conflict can be contained."

Mr. Lapid said he was sensitive to criticism that Israel was
trying to push Washington into a potentially armed conflict
with Iran that many Americans now oppose.

"Our mission is to point out the dangers we see, to ourselves
and to our friends," he said. "Avoiding speaking the truth
does not mean you can then avoid facing the consequences of
those facts," he said.

The lawmakers met with their U.S. counterparts, as well as
with senior administration officials, saying they highlighted
the Iranian danger in all their meetings.

Asked if he thought the message got through, Mr. Steinitz
said, "I did not get the feeling we were talking to the

Copyright © 2005 News World Communications, Inc. 



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