Israel has let it be known that if it ever launches a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, it will do so without warning -- and without telling the U.S.
Why on earth would Israel -- or any country -- give warning if it were to attack? It'd be insane. Any sort of warning would jeopardize whatever action they took.
As it is, Israel has given abundant notice to the world that it will do anything it feels is necessary to protect its security. So if (when?) it does attack Iran's nuclear weapon installations, or capabilities, there'll be no excuse for anyone pleading ignorance.
When Israel has been threatened in the past, the outside world (friendly and unfriendly) has urged restraint and to not to take direct action. Invariably, in such cases, the outside world has been wrong. Had Israel taken such advice in the past, it probably would not exist today.
Prior to the 1967 war, in accordance with Egypt's instructions, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was withdrawn from Gaza. With the way open for an Egyptian land attack on Israel, the U.S. and allies still advised Israel to show restraint and do nothing. All would be well.
Israel ignored such advice and bombed Cairo's airfields -- and won the war within a week. Had Israel followed U.S. advice, who knows what might have happened. If Israel launches an air strike -- and unless there's a radical change in Iran's position, this seems inevitable -- the U.S. will be blamed for it. What Israel seems intent on doing is establishing that any attack will be Israel's decision, and Israel's decision alone. It is not a cat's paw for the U.S. foreign policy, nor a proxy army for America.
We know that, but Israel's enemies will try to exploit what they can.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Barack Obama in Washington. (He arrives in Ottawa today for a three-day visit.) Such a meeting may be indicative of what the future holds. Obama and Netanyahu are hardly bosom-buddies. Each has a different agenda, each has vastly different priorities. Netanyahu, like all Israeli leaders, justifiably has little confidence in America doing the right thing for Israel, unless it is absolutely necessary. That usually means Israel acting first, and without warning.
Obama wants no unexpected trouble, and seeks tranquility as an election approaches. Netanyahu's sole objective is safeguarding Israel's security, which is not Obama's concern as much as keeping Israel on a leash. Western nations have shilly-shallied for several years about Iran's nuclear ambitions. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but every reputable nuclear authority thinks its uranium enrichment program is for nuclear weapons.
Considering Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declarations about annihilating Israel, his dislike of the U.S. and Britain, and Iran's missile delivery program, it'd be folly for Israel to gamble that it's all rhetoric and meaningless babble.
A growing number of Iranians are fed up with their repressive theocracy, and occasional outbursts of rebellion are mercilessly crushed. An Israeli attack might unify Iranians, or it might encourage more resistance--probably the former.
In any event, Israel cannot be expected to do nothing. It's abundantly clear that Ahmadinejad is impervious to reason. Presuming he cares at all, he may think Israel wouldn't dare attack without U.S. approval. Such an error in judgment has been made in the past.
Crunch time looms.