There has been another explosion in Iran. This one in the city of Isfahan, home to spectacular Muslim architecture, and industrial facilities linked to the country's nuclear program.
There are no reports that the explosion damaged the mosques or madrases.
Among the Iranian reports are that it occurred at a gas station.
Iranians claimed that an earlier explosion near Tehran was an industrial accident. It killed a highly placed general in charge of elements associated with the nuclear program.
The Iranians also claimed that last year's virus that infected computers concerned with its nuclear facilities did no serious damage.
At least two Iranian nuclear scientists did not make it to work a year ago, one due to a car bombing and another to a drive by attack from a motorcycle.
All that may be random happenstance.
But some or all of them may be the work of Israel, its international partners, or agents. If so, they fit a scenario wiser and no less effective than an all out attack on the same facilities. They have not caused the rain of missiles on Israel likely to follow an overt attack. Overseas Jewish and Israeli facilities might suffer in retaliation. Remember those bombings in Argentina during the 1990s that killed more than 100 Israelis and Argentinian Jews. Their link to Iran is a lot clearer than any link between Israel and these most recent events. Best to tighten security at synagogues, Temples, and Community Centers in anticipation of Hanukkah.
At the most, these attacks (if they are that) will only delay Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon. However, no one who has urged an overt attack has claimed that they would do more than delay the inevitable. And no less than their impact on delaying, these strategically placed pinpricks--if they are that--may work along with economic sanctions to persuade enough Iranians, close enough to the levers of power, that the pursuit of nuclear weapons is not worth the trouble.
There is nothing more substantial than media speculations available to simple citizens like me.
Dan Meridor holds a flimsy government portfolio labeled "Intelligence Agencies Ministry." By all the signs, it's only a title for a ministry without portfolio. That job is both a gesture and a slap for Meridor, who was not given a real ministry in the Netanyahu government. Yet Meridor is more impressive than his current job. He is well regarded as a thoughtful and moderate conservative, with a long family history in Likud and its predecessor right-wing, nationalist parties. Recently he has attacked proposals coming from activists further to the right in Likud, intent on shaping the Supreme Court or muzzling left-wing pressure groups that operate with foreign donations.
Meridor was asked about the explosion in Isfahan. You can read what you want in his responses.
"isn't right to expand on this topic. . . there are countries who impose economic sanctions and there are countries who act in other ways." http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?ID=247388&R=R1
Those of you who think that Israel's activity (if it is that) is illegal and self-defeating can stop reading. The delete button is somewhere to the right of your fingers.
Better to view whatever is happening as part of an ageless and endless conflict. Especially prominent is a widespread assertion among Muslims that this is their region, and that Jews are temporary interlopers with no history in the area. The Bible and archaeological remains to the contrary do not penetrate their world view. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's frequent denials of the Holocaust and threats to annihilate Israel are part of this. His latest assertion is that there are 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel.
The Palestinians leadership is not so bombastic, but its political and religious figures have asserted their monopoly on what Jews call the Temple Mount, say that there never was a significant Jewish presence in Jerusalem, and are doing what they can to destroy whatever signs of the Temples that they unearth while expanding their facilities.
Just yesterday the Prime Minister ordered a postponement of a project to replace the tottering bridge between the Plaza alongside the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Election day in Egypt and the likelihood of unrest in Jordan was not the occasion to risk yet another campaign against Jewish intentions to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque.
It is true that accommodationists have no great presence in the Netanyahu government. You can think what you will about the Prime Minister's own feelings. However, left-wing and centrist Jews have been urging accommodation with the Arabs since the 1920s. Brit Shalom was a predecessor of Peace Now. Even earlier, Herzl in his innocence wrote about the benefits to the Arab population of Jewish settlement. Virtually all public opinion polls suggest the continued strength of accommodation in the population, waiting to express itself in exchange for an appropriate message from well-placed Palestinians.
You can think what you want about the Geneva Initiative. It didn't do the job.
The insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is not just a tactical blip. It represents a challenge to the Muslim insistence that the Jews are a foreign element of occupation with no history and no rights.
Chances are slim to nothing that the Muslims will alter their perspective. Should a miracle occur, lots of Israelis are willing to take them up on it.
No use talking about the details of what Israel should offer. That tactic has been tried, several times.
The problem is Islam and its intense followers. It may not be politically correct to express such thoughts in the western lands of peace and wonderment, but it fits the assertions coming from a wide spectrum of political and religious leaders.
Believe what you will about the Islam, and what you will about these viruses, explosions, and assassinations in Iran.
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Posted by Ira Sharkansky at November 29, 2011 05:17 AM