DEBKAfile’s military sources: Olmert’s instruction to prepare for a nuclear-armed Iran was leaked to Reuters hours before the nuclear watchdog’s ElBaradei released his report
November 15, 2007, 6:04 PM (GMT+02:00)
The agency indicates that the Israeli prime minister ordered cabinet officials in a secret memorandum to present proposals for “the day after” Iran owned atomic warheads, meaning the day after Israel loses the military edge of its monopoly as the only nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East.
Without disclosing the contents of the proposals, Reuters quotes two Israeli sources as referring to the long-term ramifications to be addressed on Israel’s security and response capabilities and the effect on the public.
DEBKAfile’s political analysts report: The leak, albeit denied by the PM's spokesman, pointed to Olmert’s conviction that US-led diplomacy and sanctions for halting Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon have reached a dead end, and the only option left to the US or Israel is a pre-emptive military strike, just as Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.
The report Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei is due to present is not expected to prove otherwise.
Our sources note the proximity of the prime minister’s presumed leak to the US-promoted peace conference in Annapolis on Nov. 26.
What it says is that if the Bush administration cannot meet its pledge to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, which is an existential threat to Israel, how can the same administration be trusted to deal effectively with the issue of an Israel- Palestinians settlement in consequence of the Annapolis meeting?
It may therefore be postulated that the Israeli prime minister acted to derail the conference by drawing a red line which Israel refuses to cross in the interests of its security.
The Reuters report may even be his response to the “Israel should make painful sacrifices” speech which US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered to a Jewish audience Tuesday, Nov.13, in Nashville, Tennessee. Her argumentation sent a shudder through Israel’s intelligence and defense community.
Analysis of the speech, which the State Department quickly released in full plus video, shows strikingly that “Palestinian statehood” has been substituted for “Middle East peace” as a central US policy objective. Peace and peacemaking have therefore been exed out as a prerequisite for the Palestinians.
By presenting a Palestinian state as the main bulwark against Middle East extremists, she placed Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad at the forefront of the battle against Hizballah, Hamas and Iran, and deposited the security of the entire Middle East in their hands.
This thesis left Israeli security circles long familiar with the pair’s capabilities aghast - especially after their defeat in Gaza.
Therefore, the report claiming Olmert had given instructions to start preparing for a possible nuclear-armed Iran may equally apply to the bombshell Rice dropped on Israel’s head, and a signal to the Bush administration that Israel proposes to look after its own security rather than leaving it in other hands.
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