Why Israel Shouldn’t Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons
Yesterday the American left-wing news website Truthout (“Fearless, Independent News and Opinion”) published an Op-Ed by L. Michael Hager with the headline “Toward a WMD-Free Middle East: The Israel Hurdle”. As you probably already suspect this whole Op-Ed is about how Israel’s unwillingness to dismantle its WMD is the only reason why we do not have a peaceful, stable and WMD-free Middle East yet. This argument is probably as old as it is stupid. The idea that if Israel does the first step in dismantling its WMD the rest of the Middle East would reward Israel’s policy with similar measures does reveal great ignorance about the nature of the Middle East conflict and Israel’s enemies. The underlying assumptions – that other Middle Eastern countries were only participating in the “arms race” because they feel threatened by Israel and that as soon as Israel is willing to make reasonable concessions we would have peace in the region – ignore the rising tensions between Iran and the Gulf states as well as the simple fact that the whole Arab world and Iran haven’t come to terms with Israel’s existence since its founding 65 years ago.
What people in the West often do not understand about the Middle East conflict is that the main problem the Arab states and Iran have with Israel is not its policy towards the Palestinians but its very existence as a nation itself (as a matter of fact the discriminatory policy against descendants of Palestinian refugees in Arab countries is proof enough that their Arab brethren don’t care about actual Palestinians at all). Even in the cases were Israel managed to convince two of its neighbours to sign peace treaties, it’s a cold peace with little or no popular acceptance inside Egypt and Jordan (just April this year 110 members of the Jordanian parliament signed a petition demanding the release of Ahmad Musa Mustafa Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier who murdered 7 Israeli school girls during their school field trip in Naharayim, near the Israel-Jordan border). Rather as appreciating a nuclear disarmament by Israel as a move to peace, Israel’s enemies would see such policy as weakness, wich should be exploited, and celebrate it as a partial victory against the Zionist arch-enemy. Why should it be much different from 2005 when Israel ended the occupation of the Gaza strip and even ethnically cleansed it from its Jewish inhabitants without any promises made in return by the Palestinians and the grateful people of Gaza voted Hamas into power, wich turned the whole Gaza strip into a missile launching site in order to terrorize and murder Israeli civilians?
Let’s face it, the only reason why Israel still does exist isn’t any peace initiative brokered by the US but Israel’s outnumbered but technically superior military. Israel’s enemies have tried to destroy Israel several times in the past and there is no doubt that they would try it again in a new war of aggression as soon as they believe that Israel is weakened enough. The deterrence capability of Israel’s nuclear weapons, whose existence has neither been denied nor confirmed by the Israeli government, is, as the Op-Ed reluctantly admits, central to Israel’s long-term security strategy. Because it is the best insurance against a potential attack with WMD by its neighbours (such attack would be equatable with a genocide against Israel’s population, considering the small size of the country). Abandoning this capability in the very moment when we have good reasons to believe that one of Israel’s enemies, Iran, is striving for nuclear weapons, would be close to being suicidal. Israel is the only Jewish country worldwide and, therefore, the only place to where Jews can turn for help, when the rest of the world turns against them once more again. If we define peace as peaceful co-existence, then Israel’s ability to defend itself and its citizens and its ability to answer a genocidal attack with WMD by its hateful neighbours with an equally destructive counterattack is not an obstacle to but a precondition for peace.