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The answer may well be that both the Obama and Bush Administrations realize that nothing, short of a military attack, will stop Iran from developing deliverable nuclear weapons. Since both administrations have apparently taken any military option off the table, they seem to have accepted a policy of “containment.” But containment is not a policy. It is an admission of failure. And failure requires a scapegoat. If Israel does not end the occupation, and Iran does develop nuclear weapons, it will be easy to blame Israel rather than the United States for this game-changing development.
In an op-ed in this past Sunday’s New York Times, Chas Freeman—the anti-Israel zealot whose nomination to become Chair of the National Intelligence Council was withdrawn under pressure—has already tried to cast blame on Israel. He argues that notwithstanding the clear language of the recently released cables, the Gulf Arabs do not want the United States to attack Iran. Nor did the cables, according to Freeman, “demonstrate a basis for Arab-Israeli solidarity against Tehran.” This is patent nonsense, reflecting Freeman’s bias, rather than reality. He also argues, with typical contempt of history, that the only country that ever says no in the Middle East is Israel, forgetting that Israel has on several occasions offered to end the occupation and accept a two state solution. Freeman conveniently forgets that when the occupation first began, Israel offered to return the land captured in a defensive war in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors. All the Arab states convened in Khartoum and issued their three famous “nos”: No negotiation, no recognition, no peace. So much for Freeman’s credibility.
The truth is that the Palestinians have marginalized themselves in the Middle East by rejecting offers that the Arab states have urged them to accept. Iran is the 800 pound gorilla in the area, and all the other countries in the Middle East recognize that and have a common interest in preventing so irresponsible a regime from working together with North Korea to develop nuclear rockets.
The Wikileaks prove what many of us have been saying for years: that the United States, as the leader of the free world, must stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons—whatever it takes. Although an air and rocket attack should remain an absolutely last resort, this military option must remain on the table. If all else fails and the United States must resort to military action, the Arab world will support such action (at least in private), regardless of whether Israel and the Palestinian Authority finally make peace.
Professor Alan Dershowitz’s latest book is a novel, The Trials of Zion.
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