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Will Israel attack Iran? It's been asked before

February 3, 2012 |  2:08 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Will Israel attack Iran? The question is everywhere since Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman concluded in the New York Times Magazine: "After speaking with many senior Israeli leaders and chiefs of the military and the intelligence, I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012."

It's a very serious question, and not just for Israel and Iran. "Rarely if ever have the stakes been higher," Harvard fellow Chuck Freilich recently opined for the Los Angeles Times:

 ... on the one hand, a threat to Israel's very existence, and the Jewish people have already undergone one Holocaust in recent history. Israel was established so that the Jewish people would never again face the threat of extermination. Never again.

Conversely, the consequences of acting are also potentially dire, even assuming a successful attack. Iran already has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb, and an attack could set the program back by no more than a few years — of value in itself but not a solution.

But it's worth remembering that the same question has been all over the media before. At Foreign Policy magazine, Blake Hounshell dubs it "Washington's favorite parlor game." Just look at headlines, including both news articles and opinion pieces from newspapers and news websites:

November 2011: Chicago Tribune, Will Israel bomb Iran?

November 2010: The Atlantic, Will Israel Attack Iran by Christmas?

August 2010: The Week, Will Israel attack Iran in the next three days?

April 2010: Middle East Post, Will Israel attack Iran? 

August 2009: Talking Points Memo, Will Israel Attack Iran This Year?, Los Angeles Times, Expect Israel to hit Iran without warning

April 2009: Salon.com, Will Israel attack Iran? 

July 2008: The Atlantic, Will Israel Attack Iran?, ABC News, Will Israel Attack Iran? 

May 2008: The Daily Star (Lebanon), As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon 

February 2008: Haaretz, Pentagon: Israel increasingly likely to attack Iran 

December 2007: The Daily Beast, What Will Israel Do? (The writer says that a unilateral military strike against Iran has grown more likely.)

March 2005: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Israel has plans to attack Iran, says London Times 

August 2004: The New York Times, Sharon on the warpath: Is Israel planning to attack Iran?

RELATED:

Israel's profound choice on Iran

Iran vows to 'punish' Israel for any attack

Iran undecided on nuclear warhead, Israeli report says

-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Jan. 29. Credit: Uriel Sinai / AFP/Getty Images

in Cairo streets, Tahrir Square 
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