Reach peace deal with Syria, attack Iran: Israeli army

Israel’s defence establishment in a recommendation paper to be presented to the Cabinet has asked it to make contingency plans to attack Iran, reach a peace agreement with Syria and prevent polls in the Palestinian areas even if Tel Aviv has to confront with the US.

The paper will be presented to the Cabinet next month as part of the National Security Council’s annual situation assessment, daily ‘Ha’aretz’ reported on Sunday.

The paper warns that Israel may find itself facing a nuclear Iran virtually alone in 2009 following a rapprochement between Washington, Tehran and the Arab world that would also undermine the Jewish state’s military superiority.

“Iran’s threat to Israel’s survival” is at the top of the paper’s list of threats, followed by the “strategic threat” of long-range missiles and rockets owned by various countries in the region, the daily said.

“Israel faces these threats almost alone. It is imperative to mobilise the international community and obtain regional cooperation. The new American administration is an opportunity to do this,” it notes.

The recommendation paper warns that Israel has a limited “window” in which to act before Iran obtains nuclear arms and regional hegemony.

Israel therefore “must establish a military option against Iran, in case other countries abandon the struggle”, it reportedly says. The defence establishment also advises the Cabinet to “work discreetly on contingency plans” to deal with a nuclear Iran.

The paper strongly recommends close cooperation with US to prevent a deal between Washington and Tehran that would undermine Israel’s interests.

The paper calls for “an agreement with Syria”, despite the “heavy price Israel would have to pay”.

The defence establishment believes that removing Syria from the conflict would lead to an agreement also with Lebanon, significantly weakening the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis.

It recommends persuading Barack Obama administration to support talks with Syria, to which George W Bush objected.

Israel should support moderate factions in Lebanon in next year’s parliamentary elections, but not at the expense of its own interests, it says, adding “At the same time, Israel must strengthen its deterrence against Hezbollah and take “low-profile” action against Hezbollah’s arms smuggling”.

The paper proposes various steps to strengthen Jewish state’s ties with moderate Sunni Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia. “Israel must examine ways to expand its dialogue with Saudi Arabia on various shared interests.”

“It must also act to neutralise potential risks in Saudi Arabia, such as its development of nuclear capability, its purchase of long-range missiles or its closing of the military gap with Israel,” it adds.

With regard to new US administration, it warns “the US is interested in setting up a regional and international alignment against Iran and Israel is the one that might pay the price.” The paper predicts that Iran and the US will begin talks and warns that Israel must work to prevent any agreement that would be “problematic” from its point of view.

It warns of a collapse of the Palestinian Authority, effectively killing the two-state solution.

Following the end of his term on January 9, 2009, PA President Mahmoud Abbas may “disappear” from the political arena, leading to the disintegration of the PA and the two-state solution being taken off the table, it says.

Due to this possibility, coupled with the fear that Hamas might win a new election, it recommends “preventing elections in the PA, even at the cost of a confrontation with the US and the international community”.