A 2003 European Union poll named Israel as the country perceived to pose the biggest threat to world peace. Israeli ministers condemned the accusation as anti-semitic, stating that any criticism of the way Israel protects itself, is an attack on Israel’s survival. Twelve years later, Israel is considered a strategic ally of the United States in an increasingly volatile Middle East. With reports that Israel has developed illegal nuclear weapons and Amnesty International’s accusations that the state has committed war crimes against Palestinians, it is now even more necessary to raise the question, how dangerous is Israel?
Since the early 1990s Iran and Israel have endured a hostile relationship. Iran refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the state of Israel and both countries have threatened to ‘wipe each other off the map’. Intimidated by what they perceive to be Iran’s illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons, Israel’s defence minister Shaul Mofaz, has warned the international community that they are prepared to take military action against Iran to stop them.
Having previously bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and their repeated air strikes in Syria, targeting their missiles during 2013, there is a real potential that Israel could initiate an attack against Iran, which according to the Iranian army General, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, would trigger World War 3. Although Israel has publicly declared that they will attack Iran without the US’s help, in 2009 the New York Times reported that the US had denied Israel, the specialised bombs necessary to destroy Iran’s reinforced nuclear complex.
Furthermore it seems that members of the Israeli army are themselves hesitant to attack Iran. An investigation by an Israeli television programme, revealed that just 2 years after being refused the bombs by the US, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered his army and secret service to prepare for an air strike against Iran, but they refused over fear it would lead to war. How dangerous Israel is, is not only determined by the country’s willingness to initiate war, but also determined by what constitutes their own arsenal of weapons.
Whilst Israel publicly condemns Iran’s covert nuclear weapons programme, they themselves have illegally been making nuclear weapons since the 1950s and it is estimated that they currently posses 80 nuclear war-heads. According to the Guardian, Western governments including Britain and the US turn a blind eye, to Israel’s nuclear weapons, despite them having violated countless international laws and treaties, which banned nuclear tests and restrict the traffic in nuclear materials. As well as building secret weapons, since Israel’s conception it has also been accused of waging secret wars.
Israel’s secret service, contains a department known as Kidon, which are suspected to be responsible for a number of successful assassination campaigns abroad. Kidon are thought to be responsible for assassinating German scientists working on Egypt’s rocket programme in the 1960s, Iraqis working on nuclear projects in the 1980s, and most recently the high profile murders of five Iranian nuclear scientists, since 2010. In addition to Israel’s controversial tactics for dealing with international grievances, they have been accused of committing war crimes against their own Palestinian population, which some, such as Israeli historian Ilan Pappé have gone as far as calling slow genocide.
Despite Palestinians being the indigenous population, since Israel’s inception in 1948, they have been confined to live in poor conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. With the Gaza strip having endured an illegal blockade since 2007 by Israel and Egypt, who heavily restrict both goods and people from leaving or entering the area. Israel maintains that the blockade is necessary to limit Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip but Hamas, the elected leaders of the Gaza strip, claim that they aim rocket fire into Israel in an attempt to encourage international pressure to lift Israel’s stifling blockade. With the continued tension between Israel and Palestine and Israel and Iran, some have perceived the Jewish country, as wanting to raise war with the muslims world. Armed with a secret arsenal of nuclear weapons and covert assassins, the dangers of Israel should not be ignored.