by Stephen Lendman
Israel is no democracy. Right-wing ideologues govern. They're militantly over-the-top. They represent Israel's lunatic fringe.
They abhor peace. They endorse war. They threaten regional security. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered Israel's military to prepare war plans on Iran.
Nearly $3 billion was allocated. It's around one-firth of Israel's budget. Both officials want Iran's nuclear facilities targeted. They want them eliminated.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned earlier. Attacking Iran assures blowback. Iran will counterattack.
Hundreds of missiles will strike Israeli cities and strategic facilities. Dimona and other Israeli nuclear facilities will be targeted.
Regional conflict may escalate beyond what stoppable. The entire region may be embroiled. So will America.
Attacking Iran is madness. Lunatics don't consider consequences. In March 2012, The New York Times headlined, "US War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran," saying:
A "classified war simulation held this month" assessed significant repercussions of Israel attacking Iran. Doing so means regional war. America could get embroiled. Hundreds of US casualties would follow.
US Central Command's war game tested communication and coordination between its Tampa, FL headquarters and Persian Gulf forces.
Exercises were held. Then Central Command head General James Mattis was especially troubled. He told aides that "an Israeli first strike would be likely to have dire consequences across the region and for United States forces there."
Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities could affect millions catastrophically. If retaliatory Tehran strikes seriously damage or destroy Dimona and other Israeli nuclear sites, radiation will contaminate large parts of the region.
War games can't predict how nations will respond. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned earlier that Iran will retaliate if attacked. "(W)e will attack them at the same level as they attack us," he said.
Netanyahu wants ongoing Iranian nuclear attacks subverted. He called last November's Geneva agreement a "historic mistake."
At the time, Saudi Arabia called it "West(ern) treachery." An Israeli/Saudi alliance formed to subvert it. Doing so could serve as pretext for conflict.
Bottom line US/Israeli strategy hasn't changed. Both countries want Iranian governance they control. How achieved is optional.
Hawks in both countries urge war. Attack plans were readied years ago. They can be implemented straightaway if ordered.
False flag deception may precipitate it. Duplicity is longstanding US/Israeli tradition. Trustworthiness isn't their long suit.
Deals they offer aren't worth the paper they're written on. Anti-Iranian sentiment is decades old. Obama and Netanyahu prioritize war. They deplore peace.
Rapprochement with Tehran faces long odds. Israeli and US saber rattling show what Iranians face.
George Clemenceau once said America is the only nation that went "from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization." The same applies to Israel.
Threats risk becoming policy. The IDF got direct orders from Netanyahu and Ya'alon. Prepare to strike Iranian nuclear facilities. Ignore ongoing P5+1 talks.
Netanyahu rejects last November's interim nuclear agreement. He's not bound by it, he said.
"…I believe that letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates," he said. "That must not happen. And we will make sure it does not happen."
"Letting the worst terrorist regime on the planet get atomic bombs would endanger everyone," he added.
He repeatedly repeats the Big Lie about Iran openly "call(ing) for our destruction." Claiming it wore thin years ago. It doesn't stop endless regurgitation.
Ya'alon added: "Weakness certainly does not pay in the world.
No one can replace the US as the world's policeman. I hope the US will come to its senses."
"We think that the United States should be the one leading the campaign against Iran."
"But the US has entered talks with them and unfortunately, in the haggling in the Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better."
"Therefore, on this matter, we have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves."
Iran remains hopeful about achieving a final agreement around mid-year. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Vienna talks this week made substantial progress.
"Today the other side has finally grasped what we had been trying to say, especially when it comes to the practical needs of having a nuclear program which is logical and peaceful. And this by itself is a major progress."
Discussions about major issues were clarified, he added. They include enrichment, sanctions, international peaceful nuclear cooperation and Iran's Arak reactor.
Dismantling parts of Tehran's nuclear program isn't being considered. "(W)e are not at the stage yet to draft a statement to predict how big the differences still are," Zarif said.
Reports suggest major ones remain. A senior US official called this week's Vienna talks "intense."
On January 20, multiple rounds began. They're expected to continue until July 20. Final resolution remains elusive.
Iran won't relinquish its nuclear rights. They fully comply with NPT provisions. No military component exists.
Iran is between a rock and a hard place. Eighty-three senators wrote Obama. They laid out "core principles."
They lied claiming "Iran has no inherent right to enrichment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty." Tehran calls doing so fundamental. It won't sacrifice its legitimate rights.
Washington wants Fordow enrichment facility and Arak's heavy water reactor abandoned. Iran has no intention of doing either.
President Hassan Rohani said Iran won't relinquish its legal rights.
"The world has admitted that Iran is, and will be, among the countries which have nuclear technology, including enrichment, and there is no doubt about this for anyone."
He urges equitable resolution. It's long overdue. Whether possible given hardline US/Israeli policy remains to be seen. An unnamed US official in Vienna said:
Talks were serious. They were civil. "Everybody (was) very professional, very focused, no histrionics, no walking out, no yelling and screaming."
"People understand the stakes are pretty profound; there is a sense of the tremendous responsibility on people's shoulders."
Ukrainian tensions were temporarily ignored. How much longer remains uncertain.
P5+1 and Iranian nuclear experts will meet in Vienna from April 3 - 5. Negotiators will conduct more talks from from April 7 - 9.
Iran's main goal is "normalizing (its) case similar to every other member state of the NPT," Zarif stressed.
Tehran's fundamental rights won't be sacrificed. Israel wants Iran having none. Washington may add new demands not yet revealed.
Final resolution remains elusive. Netanyahu plans making it impossible. Key is whether Obama agrees.
A Final Comment
Israeli rogue state policies are multifaceted. Fundamental rule of law principles are systematically violated. Human and civil rights don't matter.
Palestinians have none whatever. Conditions go from bad to worse. Militarized occupation harshness bears full responsibility.
A new Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) is disturbing. It discusses "The Likelihood, Consequences and Policy Implications of PA Collapse or Dissolution."
Financial and political pressures may precipitate it. PSR envisions three possible scenarios:
(1) Israel and/or Washington may impose "severe or crippling financial and political sanctions."
(2) PLO leadership may abandon a two-state solution. Achieving it on Israeli terms is impossible. Hundreds of thousands of settlers on stolen Palestinian land alone does so. Rights sought may be sought other ways.
(3) Economic, financial and political crises may be inevitable. Public outrage may follow. Perhaps a third Intifada. Fundamental demands unable to be met may cause PA collapse.
PSR got opinions from 30 experts. Dozens of others were involved. They represent finance, economics, internal security, law enforcement, health, education, communications, judicial affairs, local government, water, electricity, civil and domestic political affairs, as well as whether or not a two-state solution remains feasible.
For sure not on Israeli terms. PSR director Khalil Shikaki conducted the study. Palestinians require PA help, he said.
They depend on it for "financial well being, social and political status in society, and there are circles that depend on their relation to PA," he said.
"Anything that happens to the PA will take all of that away from them. These could be organizations, business interests or individuals who have positions of power that allow them to reward sympathizers."
"If they could call the shots, they would do their best to prevent (the PA's collapse)."
"But even those who have a vested interest in satisfying Israel, for the sake of preserving the PA, cannot do it for too long."
Palestinians get painfully little help. At the same time, they rely on whatever is forthcoming. It's better than nothing.
"People do not want to see themselves without a central authority that prevents chaos and anarchy in the streets, even if they have a lot of criticism of the PA and its functioning," said Shikaki.
"But the Palestinians are willing to risk it collapsing completely, if it happens in the midst of a struggle for a change in the status quo."
"If there is a good reason for it to collapse, then (Palestinians say) let it be."
Public discontent began years ago. Over time, it intensified. PA officials are Israeli enforcers. In over 20 years, they failed. They haven't achieved fundamental goals.
Things are much worse now than then. Economic and financial conditions alone cause horrific harm. Exploitation substitutes for social justice. Political rights don't exist.
PSR's " 'Day After' Final Report" is troubling. PA collapse may be inevitable. At the same time, "(a)ll Palestinians who participated in the discussion shared the view that Israel and the PA have a common interest in keeping the PA functioning," said Shikaki.
"Palestinian society in general understands that the PA is able to exist as long as Israel is happy with it, and as long as Palestinians find it useful to them."
Study participants assumed that "at all levels there will be an attempt to prevent collapse."
At the same time, both sides believe "they can do a lot of harm to the other without risking" it. In other words, Israel will save the day if necessary.
If PA officials voluntarily decide to dismantle, "Palestinians might seek to force Israel to either deepen its occupation, reverting to the situation that prevailed before 1994, or change its policies by seriously negotiating the end of its occupation, or unilaterally withdraw from most of the West Bank."
Impending collapse "might force Israel to re-examine its options."
Avoiding it requires PA officials abandoning counterproductive policies. They include poor planning, lack of transparency, excessive centralization, conflicting interests, rampant corruption, and benefitting Israel at the expense of their own people.
Hamas would benefit greatly from PA collapse. Israel's likely response would be another matter entirely.
Palestinians suffered injustice for decades. Nothing ahead suggests achieving their liberating struggle. It continues unresolved.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.