Itongadol.- All five papers discuss the implications of a US attack on Syria – or of a delay in such an attack – in the wake of the Assad regime\’s recent chemical weapons attack on rebels near Damascus:
Summary of editorials from the Hebrew press – September 2nd, 2013
Ma\’ariv asks: "If against Syria, in a limited military action, the President of the US sways, hesitates, almost pleads to be taken down from the tree, in his characteristically poetic speech, what will be against Iran?" The author reminds his readers that after declaring that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, the Secretary General of NATO said: "It was not NATO\’s prerogative to respond," and adds: "About the UN, like the EU, there is nothing to say." From the foregoing, the paper concludes, "Whoever proposes that in future peace agreements with the Palestinians, we should place our trust in \’international guarantees\’ or that a NATO force should come to the territories, all ostensibly in order to provide security (in place of the IDF) – should forget about it!" The paper says that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah "smell weakness like hunting dogs, and understand that if there is an American action, it will be a light slap and afterwards Assad will be able to go on using planes, missiles, tanks and butcher knives." The author believes that "Whoever sets red lines needs to be certain that if they are violated, he will be ready and capable of responding as he has threatened. If this readiness does not exist at the outset, then it is better not to set lines at all."
Yediot Aharonot wonders: "How will the US act when Iran approaches a bomb? Is it possible to rely on the White House\’s decisive statements that Iran will not have nuclear weapons? The black dot at the end of this strong sentence is suspiciously similar to the red line that Obama set for Syria one year ago. Now it becomes clear that it is not the shortest distance between two points; it bends." The author asserts: "No promise from the White House will succeed in dissipating the suspicions of Israel\’s leaders," and suspects that many Americans might say: "If it is possible to live with a nuclear Pakistan and a nuclear North Korea, it is possible to live and prosper with a nuclear Iran."
Yisrael Hayom suggests that "President Obama shrinks from any connection to, and bridge with, the past that is liable to fix his public image as following in the ways of George Bush," and asks: "Does postponing the moment of truth on the doubtful basis of winning Congressional support not raise sad memories from the era of appeasement in the previous century the unavoidable results of which were disastrous?"
The Jerusalem Post believes that “US President Barack Obama has taken an unfair beating by many on the right of the Israeli political spectrum for his decision to seek congressional approval for a strike on Syria,” and adds: “Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval – rather than a sign of weakness of wishy-washy indecision – might instead be the wise move ahead of such a potentially volatile action.”
Haaretz states: “The disappointed voices that arose on Sunday from belligerent circles in Israel in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision on Saturday night to put on hold for now the military operation against Syria might create the false impression that most, if not all, Israelis are eager to see an attack on Damascus.” The editor calls on Israeli leaders to “stop kibitzing and let Obama work,” and asserts: “At the end of the day, it is essential that a decision to attack Syria be made on Capitol Hill, not in Jerusalem.”
[Amos Gilboa, Yaron London and Prof. Eyal Zisser wrote today’s articles in Ma\’ariv, Yediot Aharonot and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]