Analyst says war an option

Professor Efraim Inbar visiting Australia in 2016. Photo: Peter Haskin

AHEAD of his return visit to Australia, Professor Efraim Inbar declared that in the absence of a Palestinian peace partner, “conflict management” is Israel’s best hope for the foreseeable future, regardless of what any US peace plan might contain. And he said an Israeli military operation against Iran might be necessary.

Inbar, who was founding director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies for 23 years and is now president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told The AJN he would not rule out a war between Israel and Iran, as tensions rise in the Persian Gulf.

Asked about US President Donald Trump’s dispatch of warships and B52 bombers to the region in response to what US officials described as intelligence threats from Iran, Inbar said Iran is trying “to take over the Middle East, they declare openly that they want to destroy the Jewish State, they try to get a nuclear bomb … so we should welcome the American effort”.

Asked about whether dismantling the 2015 multinational nuclear treaty could draw Israel into a war with Iran, Inbar reflected, “Sometimes you have to go to war … should we wait until they have a nuclear bomb? War is not always welcome but maybe this is what is necessary to put an end to Iranian nuclear dreams.”

When The AJN suggested to him the Iran situation might have no happy endings, Inbar stated, “That’s not true. Eliminating the nuclear potential of Iran is a happy ending … just as eliminating the Iraqi nuclear reactor [in 1981] was a happy ending.” 

However, to the suggestion that military action with Iran would be in a different league to Israel’s historic one-punch knockouts of single nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria, Inbar responded, “It’s the truth that it’s a more difficult job to do, but it’s not impossible.”

Asked whether there might be a “bitter pill” lurking in the upcoming Trump peace plan, for which Israel may already have been compensated by “sweeteners” including the US embassy move to Jerusalem, de-funding Palestinian aid and recognising Israel’s claim to the Golan, Inbar was philosophical. “We’ll take what is given to us and worry about the concessions later on.”

Inbar said BDS has been an “economic failure”, and Israel now faces the world from a position of strategic and economic strength, even though it has many enemies – but “success comes with a price”.

Professor Efraim Inbar will give an address in Melbourne for the Anti-Defamation Commission titled “Why they hate Israel – demonising and delegitimising the Jewish State”, Sunday, May 26, 7.30pm, Beth Weizmann. Bookings essential at free.