Israel sees month-long Iran war

2012-08-15 22:42

Jerusalem - An Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear programme could trigger a bloody month long war on multiple fronts, killing hundreds of Israelis or more, the Israeli Cabinet's civil defence chief warned in an interview published on Wednesday.

It was the most explicit assessment yet of how the government sees events unfolding in the aftermath of an Israeli attack.

Matan Vilnai, who is stepping down as the "home front" Cabinet minister to become Israel's ambassador to China, described the scenarios to Israel's Maariv daily at a time of heightened debate about the Iranian nuclear threat.

Vilnai, a retired general who was deputy military chief of staff, has spent the past five years overseeing upgrades of Israel's civil defence systems, including air-raid sirens, bomb shelters and a public alert system.

In the Maariv interview, Vilnai said "the home front is ready as never before." Nonetheless, he said the country must be braced for heavy casualties in the case of conflict with Iran.

Vilnai said the government has prepared for the possibility of hundreds of rockets and missiles falling on Israeli population centres each day, with the expectation of 500 deaths.

"It could be that there will be fewer fatalities, but it could be there will be more. That is the scenario that we are preparing for according to the best experts," he said. "The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts."

Israel is convinced that arch-enemy Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, dismissing Tehran's claims that its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes. Israel considers nuclear-armed Iran to be a mortal danger. 

Like Japanese

Israel's leaders have indicated an attack is a possibility if they conclude the international community has failed to halt the Iranian programme.

Vilnai did not elaborate on how he reached his assessments, but his office relies on intelligence and other assessments about Iranian weapons capabilities and Israeli susceptibility. Defence Minister Ehud Barak has also said the Israeli death toll could be in the range of 500 in such a conflict.

"Just as the citizens of Japan have to realise that they can have earthquakes, so the citizens of Israel have to realise that if they live here, they have to be prepared to expect missiles on the home front," Vilnai said. "It's not pleasant for the home front, but decisions have to be made, and we have to be ready."

Vilnai has made similar comments in other media outlets in recent days.

At a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta reaffirmed the US assessment that Israel has not yet decided whether to strike, while the US military chief, General Martin Dempsey, echoed a widely held assessment that an Israeli operation would only set back, not destroy, Iran's nuclear project.

Vilnai was stepping down on Wednesday to take up his new post in China. He is being replaced by a former internal security service chief, Avi Dichter.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 23:34

    In all probability there will not be a need for a war of this nature. Once Assad has been removed, the election-adjusting woman-oppressing Iranian regime will be squarely in the spotlights of the millions of Iranians wanting freedom and truer government. Hezbollah will dwindle into nothing because it won't be funded by Assad and the Iranian regime anymore. Greater opportunities for peace will emerge.

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-08-16 00:06

    It all seems so easy and neat when he says it that way. When this all goes pear shaped, as it inevitably will resulting in millions of deaths, I hope the first nuke that hits has his home address on its targeting system.

  • piet.boerie - 2012-08-16 04:41

    The war has started already. We have seen Israeli assasins and bombs. The earlist attack of this sort was the South African Airways Flight 295 that was bombed by Israel in 1987. It is only a matter of time when there is open war. This whole debacle is becuase of the right of Veto. UN resolutions aimed at Iran were vetoed and UN resolutions aimed at Israel too. Too war mongering protaganist.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-16 06:17

      The idea that Flight 295 was bombed by Israel is really nonsense. There was a fire in the cargo area of the plane.

      neutedop.opinie - 2012-08-16 08:05

      Jeez Piet, do you even know anything of the Heidelberg? There was a fire, caused by rocket fuel, that the Apartheid government wanted. The pieces of the plane that was found show a much higher burn than paper/plastic causes, but the same temp as rocket fuel that burns. The loadmaster in Taipei quit the next week, started a company, and a year later he was a multi-millionaire.....sounds dodgy? There was no bombings, there was only a government that lied and endangered its own people, and the new government also lie about that, because SAA would get sued for millions if the truth comes out. Point being, you have no idea, so rather go talk to your buddies about conspiracy theories. Seems like you believe everything you hear in the pub.....

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-16 08:20

      Fred, according to racists Israel is to blame for everything; Palestinian suffering (self-inflicted btw), all the Arab-Israeli wars (Arab started), the price of milk, earthquake in Haiti, Tsunami in Japan, Global warming, aeroplane crashes, sinking ships and the asteroid that will hit earth in a the future. Jews have been the world’s scapegoat and will continue to be – however times have changed. No longer will Jews be herded to the gas chambers – today they have one of the strongest armed forces on earth – if anyone attacks them the attacker will pay a price that makes anyone else think twice.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-16 09:01

    Of course he has to limit the number of casualties at home in order to sell the war in the home front. If the Iranians are as incompetent as Israeli intelligence suggest, where is the danger posed by Iran then. Israel should stop this warmongering and improve her reputation of being the world's polecats by behaving as a mature member of community of nations.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-16 09:07

      Fidel believes Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, an Uncle Tom. For a more reliable perspective, just invert the information he provides, and Bob's your uncle.

      boom.baracus - 2012-08-16 10:57

      Fidel: 1. Denies the Holocaust. 2. Denies the invasion of Tibet by China. 3. Admits being a Jew-hater. In fact boasts of it. 4. States that "I never thought ANOTHER muslim would..." and then denies that he is a muslim. 5. Denigrates Nelson Mandela but supported Gaddaffi and supports Assad, the man repsonsible for the deaths of over 12,000 Syrian civilians. What a shame that this is the voice of the muslim community that is most hear on News24 (along with "Patrick Edward" and others like them). I will say one other thing. It is also a deep shame that Israel has to accept that it will lose precious lives because it feels so threatened by the murderous, imperialistic, aggressive and vioklent regime of iran. While we all sit in comfort behind our computer screens, let us remember that in living memory 6 million Jews were murdered by another "rational" regime, the nazis. Israel is not prepared to accept the possibility of a second Holocaust. Why is that so hard to accept? Why is Israel the bad one for reacting to threats of her innihilation? Does the world want us to go quietly, like we did in the Holocaust? Do they?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-16 11:59

      You have to rethink this and stop the propaganda, it is so ludicrously full of holes it would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. What an utterly repellent comment to make. A fine example of incoherent nonsense. As for your most banal strawman, I'll treat it with the contempt it deserves.

      boom.baracus - 2012-08-16 13:52

      Shriller and shriller Fidel. And yet you cannot deny the truth. It is written all over News24 pages. The only laughable thing is your response, my little Jew hater.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-17 07:45

      Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory. Palestinians with their unelected, self-serving neighbors declared war on Israel the very next day. In the 1960's they even invaded Israel twice. Full military invasions. The result: Israel survived and pushed them back, gaining territory in the process. This is the origin of what you wrongly call "stealing land". There have been almost daily attacks by Palestinians, incited by their self-serving unelected backers. Palestinians even teach their children at Kindergarten to attack Israel, rather than be peaceful. Children. Kindergarten. From day one, and even today it's wage war on Israel. Israel defends herself. Yes sometimes going too far, which is unacceptable, but self-defense nonetheless. All that needs to happen is for Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel. This is more likely going forward now because the unelected dictators are being removed from power by their people one by one. They will no longer use the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-08-16 12:51

    Wow Israeli diplomats are indeed evil... In my my entire life I have never heard this kind of stats... Shame on them, War is not the answer... ordinary people who don't even know what Uranium is are the ones Israel busy projecting their deaths. What an embarassment from a country I considered holy. I thought they were the God's chosen people who wouldn't go outside to inflict pain. Sic...Im never gonna lay my foot in Tel'Aviv ever...

      rick.kabose - 2012-08-16 13:13

      Israel has enough illegals already,you won't be missed. I'm sure Isreali's will accept 500 of their own lost instead of the possibility of a mushroom cloud forming over Tel Aviv. You also insult the average Iranian if you think they don't know what uranium is,don't confuse persians with "azanians". PS: Azania is in east africa , you look like a local

      boom.baracus - 2012-08-16 13:55

      What do you think the Israelis should do, Azanian? Let the Iranians attack them with nuclear weapons without doing something about it? Frankly I am very happy that you never set foot in Israel. You would pollute the place.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-16 15:59

      Azanian please answer boom’s question. What is Israel suppose to do???? Diplomacy is failing. Iran keeps threatening to get rid of the only non Islamic entity in the Middle East… time is running out. So please answer the question. WHAT MUST ISRAEL DO? What would you do?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-16 16:09

      @Adam Israel has suffered the most acts of terrorism because that country was founded by terrorists, and it has since not stopped its state terrorism towards its neighbours!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-16 16:32

      @Jaba It would be better if Israel just stopped stealing other people's territory, and gave back what it has stolen.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-17 07:46

      The IAEA, the same agency that was against the US invasion of Iraq, has stated plainly that the Iranian regime, distinct from the Iranian people, is hiding nuclear facilities.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-17 07:46

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity. It's days are numbered, and it knows this.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-17 07:56

      Fidel believes Nelson Mandela of all people is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. His words. So you can rest assured that when he says something, the truth is almost the exact opposite.

  • pages:
  • 1