The threat to Israel from a nuclear-armed Iran is "existential and immediate," declares noted legal scholar Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz, author of "The Case Against Israel's Enemies," cited a recent statement from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — whom Dershowitz admires — linking U.S. efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons to Israeli efforts toward establishing a Palestinian state.
This linkage is "dangerous" and "exactly backwards," Dershowitz writes in an opinion piece for Sunday's New York Post.
Israel "should not be held hostage to the Iranian nuclear threat by the difficulty of making peace with the Palestinians," Dershowitz writes.
And he warns that a nuclear Iran poses dangers to the entire Middle East and the U.S. as well due to the possibility that "a nation directed by suicidal leaders" could launch a nuclear attack on Israel or its allies, or deliver nuclear material to Hezbollah, Hamas or al-Qaida.
Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, also states in his Post piece:Israel has the right to consider the Iranian threat as its first priority, for it will prove far easier to make peace with the Palestinians if the Jewish state does not have to be concerned about the threat of a nuclear attack or dirty bomb.It will also be easier for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank if Iran would cease arming Hezbollah and Hamas.When Israel ended the occupation of Gaza as a conciliatory action in the hopes of fostering peace, the Palestinians responded by launching rocket attacks against Israeli children, women and elderly, and "no one wants to see a repeat of this trade-off."Dershowitz favors the two-state solution establishing a Palestinian state, but only as part of an overall peace plan between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors — and without the "return" of 4 million alleged refugees to Israel.Most Israelis like President Barack Obama, but worry that his administration may be willing to compromise Israel's security if the new Netanyahu government does not yield to pressure and remove settlements from the West Bank.
Dershowitz concludes that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons "cannot be allowed to happen, regardless of progress on the ground toward peace with the Palestinians. These two issues must be delinked if either is to succeed."
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