Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Israeli Official Confirms "Gaza Laboratory" Hypothesis re:Iran

The news analysis site Antiwar has provided us with the following report in which an Israeli official confirms that Israel is using Gaza as a laboratory for testing hypotheses about Iran.

After ordering a cameraman to turn off his camera, Israeli
Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem engaged in a very frank discussion
about the recent Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, calling it “a preintroduction” to an attack on Iran that Israel apparently expects within the year.

Before the camera was turned off, Ambassador Rotem said “the best
thing to do is to have a very open dialogue if there are no reporters
or journalists here,” adding “I am far more reserved in the way I am
saying my things (on camera).” Unbeknownst to him however Sarah Cummings,
a reporter for Australia’s Seven News service, was actually in
attendance at the meeting after having been “accidentally” invited.

Israel has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran, and while its officials have repeatedly attempted to tie the Iranian government to its war on the Gaza Strip
this is the first time one of their officials has publicly (if
inadvertently so) suggested that the attack on the strip was a warm-up
to its long talked about attack on Iran.[emphasis in original]

Whether or not one is shocked at the idea that Israel truly wants to
attack Iran, one should certainly be shocked at the implication that
whatever happens in Gaza is seen by any official as a logical
"preintroduction" to doing something related to Iran. Tiny, helpless, open-air prison Gaza could hardly be more different from the emerging regional power of 70,000,000 people that is Iran.

But there are important similarities.

Threatening Israel.    Israelis who see all independent Mideastern entities as a threat (and evidently many Israelis do) equate desperate Gazans with the distant Persians who have recently been so empowered by the American neo-con adventure in Iraq. The great care taken by Iran during Israel's recent military campaign in Gaza to avoid doing anything provocative of course fell on deaf ears.

I do not mean to suggest that these Israelis are wrong: to the degree that Israel remains determined to pursue domination of the Mideast, all Mideastern entities desiring freedom are indeed threats.  When a country pursues a policy of aggression, that policy manufactures threats endlessly. To say that the policy "manufactures" the threats is not to say that the threats, once created, are not real. It is simply to point out that the threats were not preordained. Since threats are easier to provoke than to eliminate, even a sincere change in policy may not suffice to eliminate them. Nevertheless, knowing that one provoked their creation may help to see a potential way out.

Whether or not Hamas or Hezbollah or Iran represents a real military threat to Israel per se or even to Israeli expansionism directed at others is open to argument, but even the rhetorical opposition of these groups to Israeli intentions sends the message that opposition to Israel is a viable stance. So, yes, these groups are certainly at the least political threats to Israeli expansionism and would also be military threats to any Israeli expansionist moves directed at them.

No Israeli politician is going to get up in public and castigate Hamas or Hezbollah or Hamas for preventing Israeli expansion (OK, go ahead and find a quote that proves me wrong!), so they have to claim that these entities represent military threats to Israeli security.

Reminding the World What Israel Is.    Since Israel's claims are so grossly at variance with the reality of its behavior, it is highly embarrassing for Israel to have to endure the criticism that flows endlessly from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. The danger always exists that Americans will eventually awaken and realize what kind of ally they have. So Gaza and Iran are also similar in that they embarrass Israel, sticking endless pins in Israel's infinitely precious aura of victimhood.

Nevertheless, it is still shocking that a person could concentrate so hard on these similarities that he could delude himself into thinking that beating up Gaza would in any way prepare one for beating up Iran.

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