The central truth of being human is the constant love of being alive. We Jews, of course, both in our prayers, and in our sacred rituals, have always understood the unassailable difference between life and death, between the “blessing and the curse.” In consequence, all Jewish survival, individually and collectively, is now closely bound up with the survival of the Jewish State. Quite plainly, for both its too few friends and its too many enemies, Israel’s fate is now that of the individual Jew writ large.
How, then, shall the State of Israel survive? From their very beginnings, and even long before the United Nations conferral of statehood in 1948, Jews in Israel have faced war, terror and extinction. Now, Israel faces existential destruction from two main and mutually reinforcing sources: (1) the fully constituted state of Iran; and (2) the still-aspiring state of “Palestine.” Together, largely in various unrecognized and unimagined synergies, the interactive effects of these two mega-threats portend incontestable reason for concern.
The situation is made more worrisome by President Obama’s persistent support of a “Two-State Solution,” and by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reciprocal acceptance of a Palestinian state that has allegedly been “demilitarized.” This is because the Palestinian side (Hamas, Fatah, it makes little difference) seeks only a One-State solution (on their maps, Israel is already drawn as a part of “Palestine”), and because a demilitarized Palestine would never actually “happen.” After all, any post-independence abrogation of earlier pre-state agreements to demilitarize by a now-sovereign Palestinian state could be permissible under international law.
Iran is an established state with an expanding near-term potential to inflict nuclear harms upon Israel. The so-called “international community” has effectively done nothing to stop Iranian nuclearization. Indisputably, the “sanctions” have represented little more than a mildly pestering fly on an elephant’s back.
The Palestinian Authority, with its Fatah “security forces” being expertly trained by the U.S. military in Jordan, under American Lt. General Keith Dayton, also has exterminatory plans for Israel. These plans are fully shared by the Hamas-led configuration of assorted terror groups that now collaborates regularly and systematically with both Iran and al-Qaeda. This summer, rapidly-developing Iranian-Syrian war plans against Israel from Lebanon that will involve Hezbollah proxies could add yet another decisive synergistic threat to the already-genocidal mix.
What shall Israel do in order to endure? If President Obama’s open wish for “a world free of nuclear weapons” were ever realized, the Jewish State wouldn’t stand a chance. Fortunately, of course, this presidential wish is not only foolish, but unrealistic, and Israel will likely retain the deterrence benefit of its “bomb in the basement.” The extent of this particular benefit, however, may vary, inter alia, according to a number of important factors.
One factor concerns Jerusalem’s observable willingness to make limited disclosures of the country’s usable and penetration-capable nuclear forces, and also the extent to which the Israeli government and military selectively reveal certain elements of Israel’s nuclear targeting doctrine. From the standpoint of successful deterrence, for example, it will make a major difference if Israel’s nuclear forces are recognizably counter value (targeted on enemy cities), or counterforce (targeted on enemy weapons and related infrastructures).
“For what can be done against force, without force?” inquired Cicero. The use of force in world politics is not inherently evil. On the contrary, in preventing nuclear and terrorist aggressions, force is almost always indispensable.
All states have a fundamental (“peremptory,” in the language of formal jurisprudence) right of self-defense. This right is explicit and unambiguous in both codified and customary international law. It can be found, in part, at Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, and also in multiple authoritative clarifications of anticipatory self-defense.
Israel has every legal right to forcibly confront the expected harms of both Iranian nuclear missile strikes, and Palestinian terror.
Albert Camus would have us all be “neither victims nor executioners,” living not in a world in which killing has disappeared (“we are not so crazy as that”), but one wherein killing has become illegitimate. This is a fine expectation, yet the celebrated French philosopher did not anticipate another evil force for whom utter extermination of “The Jews” was actually its declared object.
Credo quia absurdum….”I believe because it is absurd.” Not even in a still-crazy world living under the shadow of Holocaust did Camus agree to consider such an utterly “absurd” possibility.
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