Uri’s Latest from The Miami Herald:
Posted on Fri, Oct. 02, 2009
A nuclear Iran: The world was warned
BY URI DROMI
Good morning, World, Iran is ready to go nuclear!
A uranium enrichment facility nobody knew of suddenly emerges in the sacred city of Qom, Iran launches missiles that can threaten not only U.S. targets in the Persian gulf, but also Israel and southern Europe, and now the world panics.
Surprised? Not if you’re an Israeli. For years we have been sounding the alarm, only to be told to stop crying wolf. Now we are asked to lie low and let the responsible leaders of the world take care of the situation.
In 1993, when I was the spokesman of the Israeli government, my boss, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, made a dramatic turn in his hitherto coherent perception about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Contrary to his previous declarations, that the PLO was not a credible partner for peace, Rabin unexpectedly gave his blessing—albeit half-heartedly—to the Oslo process.
I was curious to find out what made him change his mind. He was not a man of elaborate explanations. Sometimes you just had to guess from his body language what made him tick. It was in the middle of an interview when a European journalist mentioned Iran in passing, that Rabin banged the table and said in a coarse voice: ``Exactly!’’ The rest came out during a later interview: We have to mend fences with our closer neighbors (the Palestinians and Jordanians), Rabin said, so that we can brace ourselves to tackle the bigger challenge rising over the horizon: Iran.
Taking the cue from Rabin, I started to talk to the representatives of the world media based in Jerusalem about the Iranian nuclear threat. I told them that it was not an Israeli issue only, that a Shiite Iran with nukes would cause havoc in the Sunni Mideast, with serious repercussions for the rest of the world.
The response was usually shoulder shrugging, glazed eyes and insinuations that Israel was trying to lure the United States into attacking Iran for Israel’s interests. In short, the tail was trying to wag the dog.
I had to remind them that in 1981, when Israel attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor, it had been condemned right and left, with the United Nations ruling that Israel should pay compensation to Iraq. Ten years later, in the wake of Desert Storm, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney gave a photograph of the bombed reactor to Maj. Gen. David Ivry, who commanded the Israeli Air Force during the attack, on which he wrote, ``With thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job [you] did on the Iraqi Nuclear Program in 1981 which made our job much easier in Desert Storm.’‘
It’s not that we Israelis are smarter than anybody else, or that we are blessed with a unique talent to foresee the future. It’s just that whenever there has been a threat to the free world we have been there first, on the frontline, on the receiving end. Not willing ever to surrender to the threat, we came up with our original responses.
When the first Israeli airliner was hijacked to Algiers in 1968, we made El Al the world’s safest airline. When Israelis were hijacked while flying Air France, we launched the Entebbe Raid to rescue them.
When Palestinian terrorists blew themselves up in the midst of our cities, we built a security fence that stopped them. Israel bashers condemned us for creating the barrier, which made life difficult for the Palestinians. Yet now, in hindsight, will they admit that life comes before quality of life?
And when our enemies started launching rockets at our cities, while hiding themselves among civilians, we were not intimidated: we went after them, trying to sort the villain from the innocent. We were heavily criticized for the way we did it, we still are: This is a very messy task indeed.
Yet Western soldiers and officers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the people who have sent them to the battlefield, all know perfectly well that we have spearheaded a path for them; that we have shown a way where democracies can walk the thin line between keeping human rights and fighting terror effectively.
One day, when the weight of terror will become unbearable, the rest of the world will maybe understand as well.