Today the Prime Minister of Israel did something heads of state don’t normally do. He roared at an ambassador in his office. He told American Ambassador Dan Shapiro that “time has run out.” Specifically the time to talk Iran out of making enough weapons-grade uranium for one or more bombs is now past.
In Israel: diplomatic dust-up
The report came out first in Yedioth Aharonoth, a tabloid in Israel. Yedioth Aharonoth does not publish any links. The Jerusalem Post carried this report on the meeting between Netanyahu and Shapiro. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) sat in on the meeting.
Instead of pressuring Iran in an effective way, [Putative President Barack H. ]Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack the nuclear facilities…Time has run out!
When Netanyahu said that, Shapiro accused the Israel PM of “distorting” where Obama stood. He repeated what Obama says for the American public’s benefit: Obama won’t let Iran build a nuclear bomb, and will use force if necessary. Only he won’t define “necessary.”
Netanyahu was having none of that. He bore down on Shapiro again, louder. Rep. Rogers sat where he was, “stunned” and not saying a word. Rogers has said nothing to the press at this hour.
Threats all around Israel
Sar Kenan. Here Abraham first came into Israel. (Photo: CNAV)
The leaders of Israel know that where they sit gets more dangerous every day. The International Atomic Energy Agency has tried to strike a deal, but failed. Agence France-Pressesays that the United Nations can’t talk to the leaders of Iran anymore. The Iranians say that the UN is a tool of the US. Ayatollah Ali Khameini said that straight to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s face.
Netanyahu has sensed for two days that time was running out. And with good reason. Hezbollah and Hamas seem ready to rush in against Israel after all. Hezbollah has sent more than ten thousand guerillas to Iran to train to “occupy the Galilee.” Yesterday, Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team sent this report. He cited a sermon by Sheikh Ahmad Bahr, a West Bank legislator. In it, Bahr called for killing every last Jew and American on the planet.
Oh, Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one.
Today Evans sent this sad report: the people of Israel are not ready for war. The army might be. (In fact, 127 North American Jews recently stepped off an El Al flight, ready to join up. They flew in with 223 fellow Jews eager to “make Aaliyah, that is, come to Israel to live.) But of the people, Evans says:
More than half a million people in Israel have no access to bomb shelters at all. Their best defense—standing in the doorways during attacks. It is tragic!…Hundreds of thousands do not have gas masks, and the main facility in the country that produces them has been shut down for lack of funds.
If that sounds familiar, it should. Actor Kirk Douglas says something similar in Cast a Giant Shadow (1966):
Let’s take inventory. You’ve got no guns. You’ve got no uniforms. You’ve got no rank. You’ve got less field maneuvers than the Camp Fire Girls. Your Palmach and your Haganah hate each other’s guts. And in three months’ time, the roof caves in. Now what have you been doing in this country for the past fifty years??? If you’ve got an army, where is it?
Israel is in better shape today than shortly before its War for Independence. But with hundreds of thousand of people having no gas masks, and no bomb shelters to go to, Israel is not in good enough shape for a thirty-day siege. Netanyahu and his advisers know this. But they would not have told the US Ambassador that “time has run out” if they had any more time.
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told the Israel daily Ma’ariv not to wait on Obama. Obama, he says, will never attack Iran. Ever. Iran might fear Israel, but it has no respect for the United States. Iran counts on Obama to pressure Israel to hold back. Bolton advises: Fool them. Hit them, as they hit Iraq in 1982. (Ideally, says Bolton, the US should do the hitting. The world, he says, will blame the US for it anyway, no matter who hits Iran.)