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Posted by Zamir Ben Etzioni on October 19, 2009

It is almost unbelievable to hear news reports equating Hamas and Israel.

As if a factual Issue.

The NYT recently commented that the UN was likely to further condemn Israel and Hamas.

Israel has had the type of policy she must have vis–a-vis the mostly hostile Arabians around her.

Israel has not survived because of negotiations with the Arabs but through superior military and intelligence capabilities.

Fruits of Violence Pose a Challenge for Mideast Peace

Through relentless commando operations and numerous checkpoints, the Israeli Army ended suicide bombings and other terrorist acts from the West Bank; since its 2006 war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, widely dismissed as a failure at the time, the group has not fired one rocket at Israel; and Israel’s operation against Gaza last December has greatly curtailed years of Hamas rocket fire, returning a semblance of normality to the Israeli south.

Two years ago, Israeli fighter planes destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor; and last year in Syria, Israeli agents assassinated Imad Mugniyah, the top Hezbollah military operative and a crucial link to its Iranian sponsors, a severe blow to both Hezbollah and Iran.

Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who leads Israel’s northern command, said in an interview that the border with Lebanon was “more peaceful than it has been since the 1960s.”

Still, Israel’s enemies “want us gone, so they have pursued a two-part strategy — terror and delegitimization.”

He added that Hezbollah had more than 30,000 rockets in dozens of villages in southern Lebanon being held in reserve for retaliation against Israel should it attack Iran.

Israeli officials say no decision to attack Iran has been made, and they hope Iran’s nuclear program will be stopped by other means, like international sanctions.

But they say they believe that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the region will grow far more dangerous for Israel, spurring an arms race and offering immunity to Hezbollah and Hamas. And for Israel, whose unofficial motto is “Never Again,” denial of the Nazi Holocaust by Iran’s leaders and their rejection of Israel’s right to exist add up to an existential risk.

Israel is trying to determine the moment beyond which an attack on Iran would be ineffective. It knows an attack cannot end Iran’s nuclear program, only delay it by several years. And if Washington opposes taking military action, it will be very hard to do.

The first ticking clock Israel is watching is Iran’s enrichment of uranium. Although the process creates low-enriched uranium for electricity but not for weapons, the more low-enriched uranium Iran produces, the less time it will need to turn it into enough high-enriched uranium for a weapon. Israeli analysts say that if Iran were to decide to build a bomb, it would need about 10 months. But after another year of low enrichment, it would need half that time, and after a third year, even less.

Israel is also watching several other indicators of how long it can delay action. That list includes whether Iran bolsters its ability to withstand an attack by building and acquiring anti-aircraft systems and whether Israel’s own scientists can design a missile defense system that could shield the country from retaliation in the form of Hezbollah and Hamas rockets.

The other ticking clocks focus on internal Iranian politics — whether antigovernment sentiment after June’s election will lead to a slowing or end to the nuclear program — and on the American-led diplomatic process aimed at getting Iran to abandon the program. Those talks resume on Monday.

How fast any of the clocks are ticking is a matter of intense study here. If Iran’s program is stopped, Israel says, it will be far easier for it to make concessions that would lead to a Palestinian state on its border.

But many of its leaders add something else — over the long term, only the Israeli military’s presence on its borders can ensure the country’s survival. Diplomacy, they say, can only go so far and the Palestinian state will have to submit to severe restrictions on its military activities and pacts with foreign states.

Fruits of Violence Pose a Challenge for Mideast Peace NYT.com

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