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The core of Israel's active defense plan remains the phased Arrow anti-ballistic missile program. Designed to intercept medium and short-range ballistic missiles, the various operationalized forms of Arrow (Hetz in Hebrew) are expected todeal especially with Iran's surface-to-surface missile threat. Basically a high stratospheric system, Arrow is also capable of low-altitude and multi-tactical ballistic missile interceptions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already indicated approval of a Palestinian state, subject, however, to some codified and verifiable forms of "demilitarization." Leaving aside the inherent infeasibility of this declared contingency -no Palestinian leader will ever accept a condition of fundamentally abridged sovereignty - there is also an overriding and antecedent policy question: Can any form of diplomacy with the Palestinians, Fatah and/or Hamas, prove reasonable and productive? Although, on the surface, such a stark and cynical question may appear distinctly odd or foolish or even needlessly bellicose, there may in fact be no clear benefits for Israel to proceed diplomatically.
Under long-standing international law, every state has a primary obligation to protect its citizens. Yet, it appears that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may soon be prepared to exchange Palestinian terrorists for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Any such exchange, however humane to Shalit and his family, would imperil thousands of other Israelis.
As we asked last week, why then must Israel remain a nuclear power? We continue with the detailed and complete answer that Prime Minister Netanyahu should prepare to transmit to President Obama.
In 1882, Leo Pinsker, a Jewish physician of Odessa, horrified by the pogroms of 1881, concluded (quite reasonably, to be sure) that anti-Semitism is an incurable psychosis. The remedy, he then adduced, must be for all Jews to accept the imperatives of self-help and self-liberation. Later, Theodore Herzl, having witnessed the spectacle of Alfred Dreyfus in France, wrote The Jewish State.
How desperately I would like to be more "positive" in these columns. Like my ever-faithful readers here at The Jewish Press, I would dearly welcome an opportunity - any opportunity - to discover some real evidence of genuine progress toward peace in the Middle East. But, as always, we Jews are especially obligated to look squarely at things the way they are. Recalling our history as a people, we simply should not expect that our most optimistic inclinations will somehow be wished into truth.
Until now, the strategic issue of Israel's nuclear ambiguity - the so-called "bomb in the basement" - has been kept squarely on the back burner. Today, however, time is quickly running out for the Jewish State, and Israel's new/old prime minister absolutely must reconsider this burning issue. From the standpoint of urgency, of course, the immediate problem is Iran.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." How, then, shall we Jews survive in such a distorted and meshugana world, both as individuals, and as the always-fragile Jewish State? In our collective form, shall we truly "Seek peace, and pursue it," when our enemies' brand of "sanity" lies relentlessly in genocide and war? Or should we just reluctantly resign ourselves to ceaseless conflict as the unavoidable expression of sanity in an undeniably insane world?
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." Here is a brief story to suitably "set our stage." During World War I, a Jew loses his way along the Austro-Hungarian frontier. Wandering through the woods late at night, he is abruptly stopped in his tracks by the screaming challenge of a nervous border-guard: "Halt, or I'll shoot." The Jew blinks uncomfortably into the beam of the searchlight and retorts with obvious annoyance: "What's the matter with you? Are you meshuga? Can't you see that this is a flesh-and-blood human being?"
Iran may be a state like no other. Founded upon the particular Islamic promise of conquering death - a promise bestowing ultimate power upon those who "submit" - it may ultimately do whatever it must to divert death in other directions. As an object for this existentially critical diversion, Israel, the Jewish State, is assuredly the perfect doctrinal choice.
Israel has elected a new prime minister. From the start - and even before he begins to consider assorted specific issues for negotiation with other governments and organizations - he will have to determine whether any form of diplomacy is actually indicated. Although, on the surface, such advice may appear distinctly odd or foolish at best, there will be clear benefits to Israel of proceeding diplomatically only after first cultivating genuine understanding.
Regarding the Oslo accords and Israel's vulnerability to war, Israeli security has become increasingly dependent upon nuclear weapons and strategy.
It is always difficult to believe that any thinking friend of Israel, let alone a prominent Israeli academic strategist, could find something positive in Israeli territorial surrenders and associated capitulations.
Project Daniel examined some of the precise ways in which a nuclear war might actually begin between Israel and its enemies.
Smugly and shamelessly, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert gives freedom to terrorists in exchange for slain Jews.
We have seen (in last week's list of reasons, numbers 1 and 2) that Israel needs nuclear weapons, among other purposes, to deter large conventional attacks and all levels of unconventional attack by enemy states.
Senator Barak Obama has displayed basic intelligence and understanding on many complex policy issues, and his "debate promises" in support of Israel were forthright and plausibly meaningful.
Amid the growing chaos of internal Palestinian violence, the manifest error of every Middle East Peace Process should be altogether obvious. Quite predictably, Fatah and Hamas now validate years of informed Jewish opposition to both the original Oslo Agreements and to the equally twisted cartography of a so-called "Road Map."
On IDF Refusals To Follow Orders: The Interlocking Perspectives Of National Law, International Law...
In Claude Lanzmann's monumental documentary, SHOAH, one of the surviving leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising remarks: "If you could lick my heart, it would poison you." Sadly, the time may still come - if Prime Minister Olmert is permitted to continue following Washington's cartography - that surviving Israelis will someday express similar sentiments.
Already from its imperiled beginnings in May 1948 - indeed, even before statehood - Israel has sought desperately to negotiate with its enemies. Always, always - it has preferred peace to war. Nonetheless, challenged by interminable Arab aggression and subversion, diplomacy has almost always failed Israel.
Jorge Luis Borges sometimes happily identified himself as a sort of Jew. Although without any apparent basis in Halachah, he obviously felt himself a deeply kindred spirit: "Many a time I think of myself as a Jew," he is quoted in Willis Barnstone's Borges At Eighty: Conversations (1982), "but I wonder whether I have the right to think so. It may be wishful thinking."
Seeking to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after the Hamas triumph in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert now intends to free many Fatah terrorists. "As a gesture of good will towards the Palestinians," Mr. Olmert announced at the Sharm El-Sheik summit with Abbas and the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, "I will bring before the Israeli Cabinet a proposal to free 250 Fatah prisoners who do not have blood on their hands." There should be no problem, he continued, because the Fatah men "must sign a commitment not to return to violence."
Jews and justice can never be uttered in the same breath. So it is too for the Jewish State, always the individual Jew in macrocosm. Whether it wishes to acknowledge the existential danger or not, Israel's only hope for survival now lies in a well-reasoned and coherent nuclear strategy for dealing with nuclearizing enemies.
From the beginning, Israel's policy on its nuclear weapons and doctrine has been to keep the bomb quietly in the "basement." To be sure, this deliberate policy of nuclear ambiguity has done very little to deter "ordinary" conventional enemy aggressions or acts of terror. But it does seem to have been entirely adequate in keeping Israel's foes from mounting existential attacks.
What [would be] the effect of Israel-PA agreements in bringing about a Palestinian state? Here, it is altogether probable that Israel's substantial loss of strategic depth would be recognized by Iran as a significant military liability for Tel-Aviv. Such recognition, in turn, could heat up Iranian intentions against Israel, occasioning an accelerated search for relevant capabilities and consequently a heightened risk of nuclear war initiated from Tehran.