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Is it Morally Legitimate for Israel to Address the Iranian Nuclear Issue?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ali Omidi

On Friday, May 25, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak despicably refused even to meet with the top US negotiator on Iran in Baghdad, Wendy Sherman, who had travelled to Tel Aviv to brief Israeli officials about negotiations between Iran and the P5+1—Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany. She just wanted “to reaffirm our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security,” read a statement by the US Department of State.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier that world powers “must show determination, not weakness” and toughen their stance against Iran. “They do not need to make concessions to Iran. They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it: Iran must halt all enrichment of nuclear material. It must remove from its territory all nuclear material that has been enriched up until now and it must dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom,” he said.

In the 2012 annual AIPAC meeting, President Obama took his strongest stance to date in favor of the defense of Israel. In a speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the president declared that the United States would not accept the creation of a nuclear Iran. “Iranian leaders”, he said, “should understand that I do not have a policy of containment. I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon”.

The President told APAIC that he “had Israel’s back” and acknowledged that a nuclear Iran posed a threat, not just to Israel, but to the United States and the world. Yet while adding he would use military force to protect the US and its interests if necessary, he claimed that “crippling sanctions” against Iran were working.

Three months ago, Tucker Carlson, an American political analyst, went much further in an interview on Fox News on America’s position on Iran: “I think we are the only country with the moral authority [...] sufficient to do that. [The U.S. is] the only country that doesn’t seek hegemony in the world. I do think I’m sure I’m the lone voice in saying this: that Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil.”

Washington and Israel always aggrandize Iran’s peaceful nuclear program as a threat. Seven points are noteworthy here from moral perspective.

First, Iran has been a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency since its establishment in 1956. Iran immediately signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), a treaty banning the promotion of nuclear weapons which went into force in 1970. Accordingly, Iran is and has been under strict IAEA supervision since 1993. Israel, however, is not a member of IAEA, nor is Israel a signatory to the NPT. Not one inspection has ever been carried out on Israeli nuclear facilities by any international body.

Secondly, Israel reportedly has two hundred nuclear bombs. Israeli and American officials primary concerns however, are that Iran “may” someday gain access to a single nuclear bomb sometime in the future.

So far, the Israeli government not only despises all international supervision mechanisms, but also has been bullying to all the world. How and Why?

Indeed Israeli officials claim all Middle Eastern governments should be subject to extreme IAEA supervision, other than Tel Aviv. They seem to believe a Jewish theocracy has the sole right to possess nuclear weapons in a region redolent of different faith systems, giving all other regional governments no right whatsoever to enrich uranium, let alone develop nuclear weapons. Where then does Israel derive such discriminatory rights? Is it that the Israeli government has had carte blanche from America against several hundred millions people in the region?

Nevertheless, thirdly, Iran has never been charged or convicted of “war crimes” or “crimes against humanity”. Since the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) however, the Israeli government has been condemned for war crimes in Gaza (2009). Furthermore, a United Nations panel of human rights experts appointed by the UNHRC has accused Israel of war crimes through unlawful killing, unnecessary brutality, and torture in its “clearly unlawful” assault on board the MV Mavi Marmara in May 2011.

Fourthly, Israel and its supporters justify Tel Aviv’s unilateral rights on the basis that only Israel is in danger of attack. No other regional governments, apparently, have security concerns. While the history has shown that it Israel has been the aggressor.

Fifthly, Iran has not only never attacked any country in the 20th or 21st centuries, but has been a victim of a devastating war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iranians, all of which was fully supported by the America and “the West”. Israel, however, was founded on warfare. History is pretty clear on the Jewish immigration and the subsequent occupation of Palestinian territories in 1948 to predicate a Jewish state through racial dispossession in which Tel Aviv drove Palestinian people from their homes, depriving them of their basic rights, thereby claiming statehood.

Israel claims to be a state. A modern state is defined with national boundaries. The question is: Where are Israel’s geographic boundaries? Israel does not accept any borders as international borders at all.

One of initial universal plan (although not legally binding) for coping the Middle East crisis was the UN General Assembly Resolution 181. It proposed partitioning Palestine, with forty-five percent of the territory going to the Palestinians. As Jeremy Hammond rightly put it: “it would, in other words, take land from the Arabs and give it to the Jews.”” Accordingly, fifty-four percent was to be transferred to Israel. One percentage of the remaining area was to be considered as an international area. Israel has never accepted this solution. Furthermore, Israel has been establishing Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories. On the other hand, up to two to three million Palestinians who are living in “occupied territories” are not considered citizens. They have no passports and other citizenship rights. They are for all intents and purposes being subjected to Israel’s past demons of Diaspora. According to the Quartet (the US, Russia, Europe and the United Nations), there should be a Palestinian state alongside Israeli 1967 borders. Israel has rejected all solutions, even those that were offered by its close allies. The strategy seems to be that of buying time, to overcome the first generation of Palestine, and by extension the issue of occupied territories will be forgotten.

Sixthly, as previously stated, Israel has twice attacked and bombed neighboring countries, such as Iraq and Syria, for nuclear reasons. The facts remains, however, that Israeli military aggression has been applied to other countries for whatever reason. Israeli nuclear ambitions, too often seem an existential threat to the region. Too often Israel acts as a law unto itself. Too often Israel ignores standing international law.

Seventhly, regarding ”terrorism”, Israel has killed a large number of Palestinians inside Palestine and outside via terrorist methods since it came into existence. Yet Israel is generally portrayed by the U.S. mass media as the victim of terrorism. Its own role as a major perpetrator of state terrorism is consistently downplayed or ignored, in accordance with the general principle that violence employed by ourselves or by our friends is excluded from the category of terrorism, by definition. The record of Israeli terrorism, however, is substantial, far too extensive even to attempt to outline here. The recent ones is the assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists.

Israel, thus, is a state that was established via a nation’s dispossession, that has acted via terror and held to war crimes, as well. Is it morally legitimate for this regime to talk about Iranian nuclear issues or attack Iran? Is President Obama or the US morally right to defend and justify the Israeli regime unequivocally while he is sure that there hasn’t been found any smoking gun of Iranian nuclear weapons activity?

*Dr. Ali Omidi is Assistant Professor of International Relations in the University of Isfahan, Iran.

Source: Foreign Policy Journal
http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/

More By Ali Omidi:

*Strait of Hormuz as Iran’s Trump Card: Legal Foundations: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Strait_of_Hormuz_as_Iran%E2%80%99s_Trump_Card_Legal_Foundations.htm

*The Ultra-Importance of Turkish AKP’s Parliamentary Victory for Iran: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/The_Ultra_Importance_of_Turkish_AKP’s_Parliamentary_Victory_for_Iran.htm

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