- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 4, 2005

As it becomes increasingly clear that diplomatic efforts to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear-weapons plans are going nowhere, Israel has been taking steps to deter a nuclear attack aimed at wiping it off the map. On Wednesday, outgoing Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi Farkash said that, after March, Israel must be prepared to use means other than diplomacy to halt Iran’s atomic-weapons program. “If by the end of March 2006 the international community will have failed to halt Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, diplomatic efforts will be pointless,” Farkash said. “Iran has the upper hand in negotiations with the international community.”

Although other Israeli officials subsequently tried to downplay Gen. Farkash’s warning and reiterated Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s call for the international community to do something about the problem, there is no question that Israeli worries about the Iranian nuclear program have been mounting for years.

In a Dec. 14, 2001, speech, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (long depicted by the Europeans as an Iranian “moderate”), declared that, if the Muslim world had an atomic bomb, it would be in good shape after a nuclear exchange with Israel, because a nuclear bomb would destroy the Jewish state, while Muslim countries (with their much larger populations) would survive. The man who defeated him in this year’s presidential election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking in October at a conference in Iran titled “The World Without Zionism,” vowed that a wave of Palestinian attacks would destroy Israel. “There is no doubt that the new wave in Palestine will soon wipe this disgraceful blot from the face of the Islamic world,” he declared. “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury,” while any Islamic leader “who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world.”

Israeli intelligence estimates that Iran has produced 45 tons of uranium hexafluoride gas since June, enough for at least three or four nuclear devices, and Tehran’s capability to develop this material continues to grow every day that it continues its illicit nuclear activities.

With Tehran making its genocidal intentions clear, Israel is not waiting around to see if European Union or American diplomacy will change Iran’s behavior. Ironically, Germany, which has played a leading role in Western kowtowing to Tehran, may hold part of the key to ensuring that Israel retains its deterrent against attack.

Recently the German government approved the sale of two Dolphin-class submarines to Israel. Writing in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post, Israeli military analyst Efraim Inbar noted that the submarines, (augmenting a fleet of three already in Israel’s possession) are capable of firing cruise missiles carrying nuclear weapons; the subs are able to remain submerged for weeks. This indicates that Israel may be preparing for the possibility of surviving a nuclear first strike and being able respond in kind to such an attack.

Given the complete failure of Western diplomacy to halt Iran’s march toward development of an atomic bomb, it should come as no surprise if Israel has decided to make surviving a nuclear first strike a top priority.

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