It would be wonderful for Israel’s leadership to one day wake up to the news that the only significant problems that Israel faces come from the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, it is far from being the case today. Israel does not just perceive threats on the horizon. Nor does it not merely create delusions that incite fear. Israelis have to deal with the fact that their nation must maintain security and be prosperous in the midst of many threats in order to survive.
Without security, not only will there be no prosperity, but there will be no shalom, no sense of well being in which to go through normal daily life. The idea that all of Israel could indeed become just like Sderot, facing barrages of rockets with ten seconds to find shelter, is not paranoid fantasy. There is real evidence. Just look at Sderot. It became that Sderot. “Ein Zo Agadah.” It is not a dream. It is real.
Today, the threats against the real Sderot and the other places which could become just like Sderot are more acute and more grave.
Iran’s nuclear program continues down a path which leads to producing nuclear weapons. Whether or not they have decided to create them at this point is irrelevant. They are heading in that direction and are refusing to work with the international community to allay fears that they intend to arrive at their destination as a nuclear weapons possessing state, a time coming closer every day that Iran continues to enrich large amounts of uranium to 20% or higher.
Egypt’s new President Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of Hamas. It is uncertain whether or not the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt will endure, but it is certain that relations between the two countries will be significantly worse than they have been in the past and that the Israeli-Egyptian border will need more security attention from Israel than it has in decades.
The Iranian allied Assad regime in Syria is on the verge of dramatic collapse and there is no assurance that the successor regime will be more friendly to Israel. Syria, meanwhile, has one of the largest stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the world. Imagine those falling into the hands of terrorist organizations. Just this past week, a bombing in the security offices killed several cabinet members of the Syrian government and may aid in a quickening of the collapse of the regime. The West is hoping, yes “hoping,” to have time to rush 75,000 troops into the nation to secure the weapons stockpiles should that happen. Yes, I said “hoping.” If you are not reassured then imagine how assured Israel is about weapons falling into the wrong hands that are far more likely to be used against it than against any other nation.
Some of those weapons could end up in the hands of Hizballah in Lebanon who already have a high multiple of the rockets and missiles that they had during previous military conflicts with Israel despite United Nations assurances that they would not be able to rearm. Hizballah has fired thousands of rockets indiscriminately at targets in Israel before. The next time will be far worse than previous times.
And then there was the bombing in Bulgaria on the 18th anniversary of the bombing in Buenos Aires. Israelis are under threat around the world.
While many wrongheadedly believe that all of these threats and problems are caused by the lack of peace for the Palestinians, the reality is that none of them are caused by that fact and worse, these factors all make it more difficult to move peace forward. Israel must address these security issues as its top priorities.
Sometimes priorities simply get in the way.
Still, Israel’s window of opportunity (what it calls the “zone of immunity” for Iran building a nuclear bomb without Israel alone being able to prevent it) is ostensibly focused on Iran’s continued burrowing under mountains to render its nuclear facilities immune to Israeli air strikes, attacks that would seek to maintain Israel’s regional nuclear-weapons monopoly.
Israel has consistently held the position that it will not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Even were one to assume that Israel already has such weapons, it has never, unlike Iran, theatened to wipe another nation off the map.