Israeli intelligence expert Mordechai Kedar said that a preemptive attack by Israel might be necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Speaking Feb. 16 at Temple Beth O’r/Beth Torah in Clark, the 25-year veteran of the intelligence division of the Israel Defense Forces said his country “will not sacrifice itself in order to save the world. The world should act against Iran. If Israel feels the guillotine starts to cut our throats, Israel will act regardless of what the world thinks.”
A professor of Arabic and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Kedar addressed some 100 people in a talk sponsored by the Israel Support Committee of Central NJ.
“If we see an imminent danger, we don’t have the luxury to start running to the world to cry ‘Help us,’” he added. “I hope intelligence will tell us what we need to do before so we can act with a preemptive strike…. A state doesn’t have to wait until it is devastated to get rid of a threat.”
Implicitly discounting the West’s negotiations and targeted sanctions regime, Kedar suggested the world send Iranians a message that “you have a week to get rid of all your military nuclear program…. In a week from now we will start to flatten you….
“When they understand that time is over and so is the game, they will give up.”
Kedar, perhaps best known as a proponent of an “Eight-State Solution” that would apportion Gaza and the West Bank among tribal city-states, offered a wide-ranging analysis of the changing Arab world and the influence of Islamic fundamentalism.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Kedar said, stability may be threatened in such countries as Jordan and Algeria, “and I am not sure Saudi Arabia will pass peacefully to the next king.”
“Feuds, wars, and struggles between tribes, sects, and religions” plague Sudan and South Sudan, he said, while tensions simmer between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the independence-seeking people of Darfur.
Kedar said the Sinai Peninsula “has become a hub for terrorism, where missiles were formerly directed at Israel but today they are much more preoccupied with Egypt and killing Egyptian soldiers.”
Terrorists, often identified as Al Qaida affiliates, have gained a foothold in recent years in the peninsula, where they killed 40 people in assaults on army bases there.
“The thing the Egyptian government is afraid of most is their targeting a ship in the Suez Canal. If this happens the ship might sink and block the Suez Canal for a long time,” which would cost Egypt a great deal of money.
He said both the Shia Muslims in Iran and the Sunnis of the so-called Islamic State “are encouraged by the current situation, with the rest of the world suffering fatigue and tired of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
But, Kedar noted, “Israel is not running anywhere to save the Arab world from the Islamic State. It is their problem before it is ours. Yet they know if they invade our borders we will take care of them in our ways. If we have to shoot, we shoot. We can’t wait for the world, because the world doesn’t do much against the Islamic State.”
He said thousands of European Muslims, several hundred from the United States, and 40 from Israel have already expressed sympathy with the Islamic State, and some have gone there for terrorist training.
Asked his view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, Kedar described “mixed feelings.”
“On the one hand, Netanyahu has to address the Congress about the dangers of Iran,” he said. “On the other side, the White House doesn’t like it, and we need the White House also for voting in the United Nations and to facilitate the arms purchasing from the Defense Department.”
Questioned about how to resolve issues between Israel and the Palestinians, he sketched the outlines of the “eight-states solution.” Following the model of the Persian Gulf emirates, the plan involves dealing with the Palestinians as separate tribes with self-governing city-states in Gaza, Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Jericho, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, and Jenin.
Under his plan, “Israel controls the rural areas in order to make sure we don’t have another ‘Hamastan’…. This is the only solution which can be sustained on the ground.”