IAF F-15s refueling midflight 390 (R).
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
Attack Iran – if necessary – to thwart its nuclear march, but at the same time
launch a comprehensive Middle East peace initiative.
That, at least, is
the recipe for Israel’s leaders recommended by noted political scientist
Prof. Yehezkel Dror.
Dror, in a paper published by the Begin-Sadat
Center for Strategic Studies just days before Wednesday’s Baghdad talks between
Iran and six world powers, said that international sanctions – or a preemptive
US attack – could prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Israel cannot leave the future of its national security to the uncertain
decision making of others,” wrote Dror, an Israel Prize laureate who sat on the
Winograd Committee that investigated the 2006 Second Lebanon War. “If Iranian
advances towards construction of a nuclear weapon are not halted, Israel will
have no choice but to attack Iranian nuclear and military facilities while they
are still vulnerable.”
Dror wrote that while a violent reaction by Iran
would follow, its impact “should not be exaggerated,” and it would in any event
be much less than “the destructive potential of an Iranian nuclear attack on
Other potential consequences of a strike, he said, would be the
harming of ties with the US, the “aggravation” of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and
Iran’s redoubling of its nuclear program with determination to take revenge on
To reduce those consequences, and bring about steps that would
prevent the renewal of Iran’s nuclear efforts, Dror recommended combining an
attack “with an initiative to advance a comprehensive Middle East peace
agreement,” relying in part on the Saudi initiative from
“Integrating an attack with a broad, multidimensional, credible
peace initiative will multiply the benefits of both, whether or not there is an
immediate favorable response from Arab states,” he wrote.
The crisis sure
to be caused by a preemptive Israeli strike would provide an “appropriate
opportunity for the peace initiative,” he wrote.
Dror framed the decision
whether to attack Iran as a choice – if all else fails – of initiating a war
under favorable conditions at present to prevent a much harder war, which is
likely to break out in the foreseeable future.
Such an attack, however,
would surely infuriate the Arab public, though a number of governments would
secretly applaud, and strain ties with the US. Therefore, Dror recommended
integrating security with foreign relations, and linking the confrontation with
Iran to an initiative to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict as a
Launching an initiative would improve Israel’s global standing
after an attack, move the world’s attention from Iran back onto the
Palestinians, “reduce the damage to US-Israel relations and encourage US action
that will prevent any rehabilitation of Iran’s nuclear
“Israel should present a Middle East peace initiative even if
it does not attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, either because Iran stopped its
nuclear activities due to sanctions or other causes, or because the US attacked
the nuclear facilities with or without linkage to an Israeli peace initiative,”
he said. “However, presenting this peace initiative while Iran continues to
develop nuclear weapons may be regarded as a sign of weakness and cannot be
recommended before further consideration of actual developments.”