Daily Israel Report

TAU Analysts: No Israeli Strike on Iran for 6 Months

Tel Aviv University researchers suggest slim chances for an Israeli strike on Iran during 6 month negotiation period.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 2:43 PM

IAF F-16 (file)
IAF F-16 (file)
IAF Website

Following the deal on Iran's nuclear program Sunday, analysts from Tel Aviv University suggest an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities is unlikely to happen in the next 6 months, because of the agreement.

Dr Emily Landau of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) told AFP "as long as the international community is moving into this six-month period where there's supposed to be a negotiated comprehensive deal, it's hard to believe Israel would take action."

Meanwhile Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that "Israel is not bound by this agreement," reserving the right of a strike to defend Israel's security interests. On Saturday, Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) said the deal would only make an Israeli strike more likely.

Furthermore Prof. Efraim Inbar, head of the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar Ilan University, assessed that a strike would be complicated and risky, but is "within reach."

However, Yoel Guzansky, another INSS research fellow, commented "the real chances of (a military strike) happening after an agreement which effectively sides the entire international community with Iran, are significantly less than they were yesterday," adding the agreement "will make it hard for Israel to act on its own."

The analysts suggested alternative options for Israel during the six month time frame which Dr Uzi Rabi, an Iran specialist at Tel Aviv University, says will allow Iran "to recover economically."

Rabi said Israeli responses could consist of "a concerted intelligence effort to expose the military dimension of Iran's nuclear effort, or to expose any violation by Iran of the terms of the agreement."

If Israel were able to catch Iran breaking conditions of the deal, Guzansky opined, "Israel will have the legitimacy to use other (military) means and to say, I told you so." The researcher remarked that a military strike would be easier "if Israel finds a secret site Iran didn't declare."

It is worth noting that Parchin, a military base suspected of being used extensively to develop nuclear weapons, was omitted from the deal.

The Middle East is seeing "shifting alliances" over the Iran deal as American allies feel slighted, according to Rabi.

Analysts say a "tacit alliance" is forming between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. According to Guzansky, the Saudis and the UAE "are even more concerned about Iran than Israel is." He added "the next six months will be a test for US-Israeli relations and US-Arab relations."

Meanwhile, last Wednesday Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said "the link between Israel and its main strategic partner the United States has weakened," urging Israel to find new allies.