Bibi Netanyahu is preparing Israel for war.
That's the opinion of Ha'aretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn, a long-time observer of Israeli politicians and diplomats. Though Israelis by and large oppose an attack on Iran without U.S. assistance, Netanyahu, Benn writes, acts like a man who has been given the tentative green light by the U.S. president, Barack Obama.
In a speech before the Knesset on Wednesday, Netanyahu outlined three instances in which Israeli politicians ignored the advice of U.S. presidents and pursued military agendas: 1948, 1967 and 1981, when Menachem Begin attacked the Iraqi nuclear program at Osirak.
Though Benn argues that Netanyahu is reading history wrong, he nonetheless suggests that Netanyahu's Knesset speech was revealing:
... Netanyahu is hinting that in his Washington visit, he received Obama's tacit approval for an Israeli attack against Iran – under the guise of opposition. Obama will speak out against it but act for it, just as the past U.S. administrations speak against the settlements in the territories but allow their expansion. And in this manner Netanyahu summarized the visit: "I presented before my hosts the examples that I just noted before you, and I believe that the first objective that I presented – to fortify the recognition of Israel's right to defend itself – I think that objective has been achieved."His colleague at Ha'aretz, Ari Shavit, also has an excellent column on the 20 questions supporters and opponents of a war with Iran should be asking themselves.
To use Netanyahu's "duck allegory", what looks like a preparation for war, acts like a preparation for war, and quacks like a preparation for war, is a preparation for war, and not just a "bluff" or a diversion tactic. Until his trip to Washington, Netanyahu and his supporters in the media refrained from such explicit wording and made do with hints. But since he's been back, Netanyahu has issued an emergency call-up for himself and the Israeli public.