Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites (Timesonline.co.uk)

De Israelische krijgsmacht bereidt zich verder voor op een aanval op Iraanse nucleaire installaties, volgens de Times. Maar het wordt onwaarschijnlijk geacht dat Israel tot oorlog overgaat zonder toestemming van de VS. Israel verwacht niets positiefs van Amerikaanse onderhandelingen met Iran, maar zal de resultaten daarvan moeten afwachten.
De Israelische krant Yedioth Ahronoth schrijft over een mogelijke afspraak waarin de VS een aanval op Iran zou steunen mits Israel de Palestijnen vergaand tegemoet komt in het vredesproces. [Zulk een deal lijkt me onwaarschijnlijk].

The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.

Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.

Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.

“Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words,” one senior defence official told The Times…

“Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate the threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli Intelligence they will have the bomb within two years … Once they have a bomb it will be too late, and Israel will have no choice to strike — with or without America,” an official from the Israeli Defence Ministry said.

Israel stands ready to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites (Sheera Frenkel, Timesonline.co.uk)

The timing of Saturday’s Times of London article, which claimed that the Israel Defense Forces is training for an attack on Iran on very short notice, is certainly no coincidence. Israel is trying to make clear that even though the United States plans to begin a diplomatic dialogue with Iran, it holds a realistic military option against Tehran’s nuclear program. Without a deal that assuages Israel’s concerns, there may be no other choice but to attack.

About 10 days ago, Maariv reported that the new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was briefed on the progress of the IDF’s planning on the Iranian question. Supposedly he was happy with what he heard. It’s highly probable we will hear and read many more reports of this sort in the near future, mostly in the international media.

Most senior defense figures believe that nothing positive will result from the dialogue between Washington and Tehran. They also acknowledge that Israel’s ability to influence the talks is very low and that it would be best for Israel not to be seen as obstructing efforts to resolve the confrontation with Iran peacefully.

However, the defense establishment is continuing with its preparations for an attack, as well as its signals to the international community and Iran that the plan is serious and feasible.

There appears to be also an American effort to link an operation against Iran with a more favorable approach by Israel to peace with the Palestinians. An article in Yedioth Ahronoth last week suggested that the United States is hinting that its willingness to attack Iran (or permit Israel to do so) will be directly related to the Netanyahu government’s flexibility on issues such as evacuating settlements, pullbacks from the West Bank and progress on a peace accord with the Palestinian Authority…

Assessments about the year Iran will be a nuclear country vary, with Israel stressing 2010 (nuclear capable), and the United States estimating – according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates – 2013 (a nuclear weapon). Either way, it’s clear the next two to three years will be critical. It remains to be seen whether Netanyahu will discuss the Iranian threat publicly, as did Ehud Olmert, or work behind the scenes, as did Ariel Sharon. His choice will not necessarily indicate his decision on a strike against Iran.

What would be the timetable for Israel strike on Iran? (By Amos Harel, Haaretz)

Half of the Jews in the United States support direct American negotiations with Iran without preconditions, according to a new Anti-Defamation League survey of a representative sample of 1,200 American Jews. The poll results, released Monday, show that 45 percent of Jews in the U.S. think the American administration should engage Iran in negotiations only if Iran suspends its enrichment of uranium.

Fifty-five percent of respondents support a U.S. military assault on Iran if negotiations and sanctions don’t result in a halt to the country’s nuclear program, while 27 percent oppose such an attack. By a slightly larger margin (58 percent), American Jews support Israeli military action against the Iranians if the Islamic Republic persists in moving toward the development of a nuclear bomb. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed opposed such an Israeli assault.

As for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the survey results indicate support from 74 percent of U.S. Jewry, while 66 percent agreed with the proposition that the Israeli response was appropriate. But 28 percent believed the Israeli response was excessive…

ADL poll: Half of U.S. Jews support Iran talks before strike (By Haaretz Staff)

The Israeli Leadership is ‘Reading Obama Wrong’ (Israel Policy Forum)

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