Surprising? The Vast Majority Of Israelis Are Against A Unilateral Strike Against Iran


iran-missileWhile Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu visited this week with President Barack Obama and others in the U.S., only one in five Israelis, or 19 percent, favor unilateral military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities without Washington’s approval, according to a poll taken by Israel’s Dahaf Institute and released by the Washington-based think-tank Brookings Institution.

However, if Washington backed the attack, then some 42 percent of Israelis surveyed favor an attack. In addition, 44 percent of the respondents said they thought an Israeli attack could set back Iran’s nuclear program by three years or more. If Israel unilaterally carried out an attack, 27 percent of Israeli respondents thought Washington would join Israel while 39 percent thought Washington would give only diplomatic but not military support. Only 15 percent thought Washington would retaliate against Israel by cutting off assistance. The poll had a margin of error of four percent. Of those Israelis polled, some 68 percent believed that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations would result in retaliation by Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Analysts say this response reinforces the Obama administration’s position to discuss the prospect of carrying out an attack and whether it will have Washington’s backing. Netanyahu’s visit follows a series of meetings by members of the Israeli prime minister’s cabinet to Washington to gauge sentiment for such an attack. These Israeli visitors have included Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Mossad intelligence chief Tamir Pardo.

Analysts say that the flurry of meetings indicates that major differences remain in terms of tactics and strategy in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue. Both Netanyahu and Barak are leading the call to undertake a military strike sooner rather than later against Iran’s nuclear facilities, notwithstanding the high prospect of retaliation from Iran, Hezbollah from Lebanon and Hamas from the Gaza Strip and now the Sinai Peninsula. They believe that Iran is approaching a “zone of immunity” beyond which any Iranian weaponization program cannot be halted. In recent days, U.S. administration officials have made it clear that they oppose an Israeli military strike, based on recent assessments by U.S. intelligence officials who say that Iran hasn’t yet decided to pursue a nuclear weapons program as part of its overall nuclear development initiatives.

This sentiment has evoked particular criticism from Netanyahu who reportedly accused the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey of “serving Iranian interests” by undermining persistent Israeli threats that Israel would undertake a military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities out of concern that an Iranian nuclear weapons program would threaten Israel’s existence. Netanyahu will seek from Obama a commitment to draw a clear “red line” in Iran developing just a capability to make a nuclear weapon without fashioning one into a bomb and thereby triggering a U.S. attack.

Increasingly, however, analysts believe that the U.S. will want to pursue a containment and deterrence approach toward a nuclear Iran – a position which analysts say Netanyahu and Barak oppose. To Washington, however, a red-line would be the actual weaponization of its nuclear program to produce nuclear weapons rather than just developing a capability. In developing a capability, however, it isn’t too far removed from the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear development program which Iranians say is for peaceful purposes. Iran contends that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has an “inalienable right” to develop a nuclear program which includes uranium enrichment – an ingredient that must be refined to more than 90 percent pure for weaponization.

Now, Iran is assessed by U.S. intelligence to be able to enrich to 20 percent, which is necessary for medical research and to produce fuel for its nuclear reactors. As G2Bulletin previously has reported, Israel is making military preparations including arming its nuclear-capable Jericho II missiles, undertaking internal military exercises and preparing the population for civil defense. It also had positioned covert intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance ships in the northern Arabian Sea to monitor Iranian missile and other military activities. The growing consensus among regional analysts is that Israel will undertake some form of military action and may not inform Washington beforehand, given its opposition to a military strike. Only timing remains an open question.

{Business Insider/ Newscenter}



  2. Only one in five Israelis supports a unilateral attack? That means that 4 out of five – 80% – don’t. Mr. Netanyahu is playing to his base, but that base is pretty small, and with an election coming up in the next year…Mr. Netanyahu’s political advisors are not serving him well. The next election may see a real shake-up of the Israeli party line-up

  3. The overwhelming majority of Arabs’ imaginary jewish friends (all arabs have a few, and they invariably start their “antizionist” tirades with a reference to their awesome jewish friend – ask them for the name, city, and other details) support the following program:

    – establishment of a jew-free State of Palestine (let’s face it, who wants to live in a cesspool, anyway)
    – a state of Middle East Entity, within borders of 1948, with right of return for “Palestinians” and with all references to “jewishness” of the state removed, and official language Arabic. Yiddish, Hebrew and English strictly forbidden to be spoken in public. Russian tolerated in engineering schools.
    – loss of citizenship and voting rights for all jewish citizens in the MEE, but prohibition for all jewish former citizens to leave the country. Why? Who else would run their hospitals, universities, missile plants….. You don’t think their more civilized muslim “brothers” would help! Their “brothers” call the palestinians “monkeys” and point out palestinians are not arabs, and are not good muslims either.
    – transfer of nuclear know-how, technology, and material to serious Arab countries, which will then use them right away as strategic weapons to wipe out Iran, not the fortified military installations but the whole country, targeting a hundred or two large cities. And here, we have to admit our Arab cousins may have a point.

  4. Oldtimer, you think this is a political game for Netanyahu? If you’ve been listening to him for the past few years, you’d know that his position is based on deeply rooted belief. To him this is the number one issue that he faces in his prime ministership and he wants to do what he thinks is right.
    The majority of Israelis are scared of Iran’s response to an attack and want America to be involved. Netanyahu has the advantage of a lot of knowledge about Israel’s military and defense capabilities, as well as classified information on Iran, that most Israelis don’t. I trust Bibi more than the results of a populist poll conducted by a leftist Arab.