March 7, 2012

Israel and Iran

A look at the tension building between the countries and U.S. involvement.

Gary: Will Israel decide to bomb Iran? And since Israel is a top U.S. ally, what would an attack on Iran mean for the U.S.? Could we be heading to war with Iran? Those are the questions being asked, especially this week, as Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington.

While meeting with President Obama, Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to protect itself with or without help from the U.S.

“Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.“

Gary: Israel is determined to stop Iran from making a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is to generate electricity. The israelis aren’t convinced. But why are they worried about Iran having a nuclear bomb? Iran and Israel have been enemies since 1979 and, geographically, Iran is close enough to send bombs into Israel.

Seven years ago, Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reported as saying that Israel should quote “not exist,” and should be “wiped off the map.”

Ahmadinejad and Iranian religious leaders are angry with what they see as Israels’ abuse of the Palestinian people. They believe Israel has seized land belonging to the Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting over the disputed region for decades. So, it is not surprising Israel is against the Iranians getting a nuclear bomb. But what can Israel do? Well, analysts say should Israel decide to attack Iran, it would likely bomb areas where it is believed Iranian nuclear facilities have been built.

It wouldn’t be the first time Israel has tried to prevent a neighboring enemy from developing nukes. In 1981, Israel bombed what it believed to be nuclear facilities in Iraq. And in 2007, Israel bombed Syria, reportedly taking out a nuclear facility there.

“Israel has a history of using military options because they feel that just reinforcing deterrence is the most important thing they can do. I don’t think Israelis have made a decision. I don’t think Israeli decision makers know what the answer is going to be.”

Gary: The U.S. is one of Israel’s closest allies. So, if Israel decides to bomb, there is real concern the U.S. could quickly be pulled into the conflict. That is why this week’s meetings between President Obama and Israel’s prime minister are so important.

President Obama has said he wants to avoid taking military action against Iran. Yesterday, he said he is hoping economic punishments placed on the Iranians will convince them to stop their nuclear program.

“Iran is feeling the bite of these sanctions in a substantial way.”

Gary: Either way, the president says he has got Israel’s back.

Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.


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