Juan Cole writes:
A 2007 cable from then US ambassador to Israel to Secretary of State Condi Rice shows a) that the Israeli leadership did not want the US to withdraw from Iraq and b) that Israeli politicians think that even if Iran never used a nuclear weapon, just for it to have one would doom Israel.
Since the US is in fact withdrawing from Iraq, and will be mostly out by next year this time, we may conclude that the Israeli leadership is very nervous about Tel Aviv – Baghdad relations. That the new government being formed by Prime Minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki depends deeply on the support of Muqtada al-Sadr and his Sadrist movement, the most anti-Israel political force in Shiite Iraq, must petrify Prime Minister Netanyahu and his security cabinet. The likelihood of the Sadrists further coordinating with Lebanon’s Hizbullah party-militia is high. So the fall of Saddam did not in fact take away the Iraq file from consideration in Israel’s future.
As for Iran, US intelligence still cannot find evidence of a nuclear weapons program, and the UN inspectors again certified spring, 2010, that no nuclear material has been diverted from the Natanz facility to non-civilian purposes.
But the cable shed light on the thinking of high Israeli officials about why Israel cannot, as many US analysts have suggested, just live with an Iranian bomb if one is achieved. They believe that such a development would create a psychological nervousness in the Israeli public that would likely doom it as a Jewish state.