Why Netanyahu will not attack Iran
Though the public and media paints Netanyahu as a warmonger with a loose trigger, he does not do anything – ever.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Photo: Moshe Milner/GPO
We probably are the last ones in the country who don’t have a position for or
against attacking Iran – or so it seems when you open a newspaper or watch
We are not proficient on the subject, we do not know the
extent of Israel’s capabilities, how long the long arm of the IDF is, or how
potentially dangerous the Iranian response. So we do not have a position on a
But what we are familiar with, is Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, and based on this knowledge, we feel pretty safe in betting there
will be no Israeli attack on Iran.
Netanyahu has served cumulatively as
prime minister of Israel already almost seven years – more than any prime
ministers except David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Shamir (the latter of whom he will
pass in a few months).
Now try to think of one big move Netanyahu made in
his years as prime minister: peace agreement, a military operation, a secret
attack, any serious initiative, something.
Maybe in the economic sphere?
Unlike the “Bibi-phobia” that has spread among some of the
public and media, that paints Netanyahu as a warmonger with a loose trigger, he
does not do anything – ever.
As the head of the opposition or as an MK,
he perhaps spoke emphatically, belligerent and threatening, but in practice, as
prime minister, Netanyahu has no tendency to make big moves. He is not built for
that, he is not there for that.
Netanyahu has a single purpose and it is
to be the prime minister. And the problem with big moves is that they are
dangerous and may, God forbid, shorten his term – so Netanyahu is doing
everything to avoid them.
You’d think that Netanyahu’s two tenures as
prime minister fell in a perfectly calm period, where there was no need to do
anything, but when considering the previous officeholders and those who
followed, that’s a little hard to believe.
Before Netanyahu’s first term,
Yitzhak Rabin pushed the Oslo Accords, moved billions toward education and
infrastructure, and opened the economy to the world. Ehud Barak, the prime
minister who replaced Netanyahu after his first term in 1999, served less than
two years (the shortest tenure of any PM), during which time the IDF withdrew
from Lebanon and Barak went to Camp David.
Then the government was headed
by Ariel Sharon, who launched 2002’s Operation Defensive Shield offensive in the
West Bank, established the separation fence and then initiated and carried out
the unilateral disengagement plan in 2005. Later, under Ehud Olmert’s watch, the
country went to the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the 2009 Operation Cast Lead,
destroyed the Syrian reactor according to foreign reports, and attacked weapons
convoys in Sudan several times.
Obviously not all the initiatives taken
by the prime ministers above were positive and ended well. Some of them proved
to be disastrous.
And yet, without getting into a debate about the
correctness of the steps, these initiatives indicate that those prime ministers
had such objectives, and not just mere tenure as a goal.
Netanyahu as prime minister has proven to be hesitant, taking very few
initiatives, and the few he takes tend to get complicated – whether it’s his
fault or not, such as the 1996 opening of the northern entrance to the Western
Wall tunnels, the 1997 failed assassination attempt on Khaled Mashaal, and the
2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
So opponents of an attack on Iran can relax:
Netanyahu will not take a move that could cost him his seat – even if he really
is convinced that the move is necessary to the country’s security.
story appears courtesy of Forbes Israel.
Translated by Moria Dashevsky