Source: Arutz Sheva
By Elad Benari
Is Hamas about to end its long-time alliance with Iran? According to a report on Kol Yisrael radio on Wednesday, Arab sources are saying that a new camp within Hamas which is interested in ending the terror group’s relationship with Iran.
The report said the group’s deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk is a member of this camp, but that he believes that Hamas should not disassociate itself from Iran without receiving something in return.
Kol Yisrael cited one report in the Arab press which said that Abu Marzouk told one of his associates in Jordan that Hamas cannot abandon Iran without finding an alternative among the other Arab countries. The report said that some Hamas officials have also objected to the upcoming visit to Tehran by the group’s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh.
Meanwhile, Hamas and Jordan seem to have gotten closer recently. Earlier this week, Mashaal met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, in his first visit to Jordan since being expelled from it in 1999.
A senior Jordanian official said on Monday that despite the high-profile meeting between Mashaal and the king, Amman's ban on the terror group will not be lifted. The official added that "Hamas will not be allowed to reopen its offices in Jordan."
The exiled Hamas leader holds a Jordanian passport, but the kingdom expelled him and four other Hamas leaders in 1999 for "illicit and harmful" activities, forcing Mashaal to establish his headquarters in Syria.
With the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters, however, Mashaal has reportedly abandoned the terror group’s offices in Damascus and is looking for a new base of operations.
The Kol Yisrael report noted that Hamas leader Mahmoud a-Zahar has said he believes that Jordan is getting closer to Hamas because it recognizes the rising power of Islamic elements in the region.
The report cited an interview a-Zahar gave to a television station affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, in which he said that no Arab regime can see the changes in the Arab world and ignore them. A-Zahar warned that it would not be wise for the Arab regimes to wait until struggles break out in their own countries.
|David and Goliath|
Source: Israel Hayom
By Yoram Ettinger
The discussion about the cost of a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities has added value only if it is intended to advance the attack and neutralize the potential response from Iran and its allies. The discussion becomes harmful, plays into Iran's hands and threatens Israel's existence if it reflects hesitancy, skepticism, aiming to preclude pre-emption, and if it assumes that Israel can co-exist with a nuclear-armed Iran.
On May 12, 1948, the People's Administration in pre-state Israel decided by a vote of six to four to declare independence and include Jerusalem within Israel’s boundaries, despite internal opposition and pressure by the U.S. and despite a terrible price: The U.S. withheld military aid, threatened economic sanctions and surmised that the declaration would result in a second Holocaust, this time at the hands of the Arabs. Then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion refused to abide by the American request to postpone the declaration of independence by a few years, knowing that such a delay would be tragic in the long run, and that independence exacts a painful price.
On Oct. 5, 1973, the eve of the Yom Kippur War, then Prime Minister Golda Meir rejected the option of a pre-emptive strike to repel the clear and present danger of a joint Egyptian-Syrian attack. She was concerned about the cost of such a strike – namely appearing as the aggressor and severely damaging ties with the U.S. – and preferred to be portrayed as the victim. However, the terrible, long-term cost of that war has been far greater than pre-emptive action would have been. As expected, Israel was not viewed as a victim, but rather as a country that lost the "spirit of the Six-Day War," eroding is own deterrent power and undermining its position as a strategic asset for the U.S.
In June 1981, on the eve of the destruction of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, then Prime Minister Menachem Begin weighed the cost of a pre-emptive strike versus the cost of inaction. The heads of the Mossad and Military Intelligence, former Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, opposition leader Shimon Peres, Deputy Prime Minister Yigael Yadin, Israel's national security adviser and the Head of the Atomic Energy Commission all opposed striking Iraq. They presented apocalyptic scenarios that would result from such action: an irreparable rift with the U.S., harsh sanctions, conflict with the Soviet Union and Western Europe, reconciliation between Muslim countries and a pan-Islamic attack, threats to the peace treaty with Egypt and other doomsday events. They underestimated the probability of a successful pre-emptive attack and overestimated Iraq's military capabilities. Some claimed there was a greater chance of seeing Israeli pilots being dragged through the streets of Baghdad than being welcomed back to their bases.
But Begin decided in favor of a pre-emptive strike, ultimately determining that the cost of restraint could be far greater than that of a pre-emptive strike; that a nuclear threat would subordinate Israel both politically and militarily; that a nuclear attack could not be ruled out considering the violent, unpredictable nature of regimes in the region, and that the ratio of Israeli territory to that of surrounding Arab states (0.2%) did not allow for a Mutual Assured Destruction. Begin understood that the window of opportunity for a strike against Iraq's nuclear reactor was about to close. The destruction of the reactor drew short-term isolation, which was promptly substituted by a long-term strategic esteem and cooperation.
In 2012, after a decade of failed attempts at engagement and sanctions, and in light of the assistance (in terms of development and acquisition) Iran has received from Pakistan, North Korea, Russia and China for its nuclear program, Israel must decide between launching a pre-emptive attack to eliminate that threat or withstanding it. Opponents of an attack warn that it could potentially result in a harsh response from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, international anger directed at Israel over higher oil prices, a wave of terror and Persian Gulf turbulence. Yet, these pale in comparison to the deadly cost of a nuclear threat, which includes a withdrawal of overseas and Israeli investors from the country, a record number of Israeli emigrants and a sharp decline of aliyah (Jewish immigration), dwindling tourism, intensified military-political-economic dependence on the U.S., a more powerful and influential Iranian regime that takes control of the Persian Gulf and the transformation of Israel from a strategic asset to a strategic liability. Israel would wither without even one nuclear warhead needing to be launched.
A pre-emptive attack against Iran would exact a non-lethal and short-term cost, but would boost Israel's long-term strategic image. It would also provide a tailwind for the opposition to the ayatollahs' regime. Will Israel embrace the legacy of Ben-Gurion and Begin, or that of their opponents?