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September 25, 1981 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-09-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

28 Friday, September 25, 1981

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Israel's Surprise Raid on Reactor Top Story of 5741

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

By SIMON GRIVER

from

World Zionist Press Service

Henry & Martin Malter

JERUSALEM — Israel's
announcment on the after-
noon of June 8 that her jets
had destroyed Iraq's nu-
clear reactor came as a com-
plete shock. Some were
pleased, others perturbed.
Everyone, without excep-
tion, was surprised.
The raid, which became
one of the top stories in Is-

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rael last year, was unanim-
ously condemned by the
world's governments, while
being compared by Israel's
admirers to her greatest
military achievements.
Such euphoria was exag-
gerated for the bombing of
the Osirak plant did not in-
volve the complex risks of
Entebbe nor the 'radical
military and political
ramifications of the Six-Day
War.
But in a different way the
raid was as significant an
event. For it touched on the
sensitive issue of nuclear
proliferation and the chil-
ing threat posed not only to
Israel but to mankind. De-
spite all the debate, it was
the first time since nuclear
warfare raised its ugly head
in 1945 that anybody had
taken direct action to stop
its spread.
Peaceful attempts to
sabotage Iraq's nuclear
program had fallen flak
Several years ago emis-
saries were sent, unsuc-
cessfully, to North
America and Western
Europe to persuade
newspapers and TV net-
works to publicize the ir-
responsible behavior of
countries like France and
Italy in selling Iraq nu-
clear technology.
Prime
Minister
Menahem Begin faced criti-
cism at home over the tim-
ing of the raid. Opposition
leader Shimon Peres felt
that incoming French
President Francois Mit-
terand could have been per-
suaded to halt the project
and that this diplomatic
card should have been
played before embarking on
military action.
Begin was also charged
with using the raid as a
boost to his election cam-
paign. But asserting that it
was "now or never, Begin
claimed that the reactor
was about to become opera-
tional and that subsequent
bombing would have ex- .
posed the people of Baghdad
to the risk of radiation.-
The action sharply di-- '
vided Israeli public oninion

— as also expressed in press
reaction, but it is hard to
separate this from the elec-
tion atmosphere. The

Sadam Hussein has re-
cently been pursuing
policies independent of the
Soviet Union, and the
Kremlin too would not have
been too distraught by the
slap in the face received by
their former favorites.
If Western governments
chastised Israel, the press
was more sympathetic.
Even in Britain, whose
newspapers are not noted
for ardent support of Israel,
editorials were favorable.
Without actually condoning
the raid, it was pointed out
that Iraq was in a self pro-
claimed state of war with Is-
rael and that Hussein had
heavily hinted his nuclear
bombs were being made for
the Zionists.
Experts all agreed that
the Iraqi signature on the
non-nuclear arms prolifera-
tion agreement was mean-
ingless and that the poten-
tial for arms production
existed.
Israel reiterated its
pledge not to be the first to
introduce nuclear warfare
to the region but was never-

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