Palestinians are in Israel today because they managed to survive the depopulation of 1948, the year the Jewish state was founded (Arabs constitute about 20% of Israel's population). Ironically, while Benny Morris' scholarship suggests that the mere existence of these Palestinians in Israel -- and millions more in the occupied territories -- irks him, Israel's substantial Arab population also blows a hole in his argument about the need to deal with the supposed Iranian nuclear threat.

Morris is part of an increasingly vociferous chorus warning of an impending apocalypse for Israel at the hands of a nuclear Iran eager to rid the Middle East of its Jews. Yet Iran's religious leaders have repeatedly stated that such weapons are "un-Islamic" or "forbidden under Islam."

Morris' role in our understanding of the region's history is confounding. Arguably, no one played a more central role in exposing Israel's role in the depopulation of Palestinians from their homeland than Morris. In his seminal work, "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem," Morris, using declassified military documents, exposes the calculated effort by early Israeli leaders to impose a Jewish majority through ethnic cleansing.

Long considered a champion of modern Israeli historians who sought to shed light on the ugly side of Israel's birth, Morris shocked many Israelis and Palestinians alike when he later changed course. To Morris, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was no longer the problem at the heart of the conflict; in fact, he suggested that the problem was that Israel didn't finish the job in 1948.

Morris said in a 2004 interview "Under some circumstances expulsion is not a war crime. I don't think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands." 

Morris added later in the interview that if Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, "was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. ... If he had carried out a full expulsion — rather than a partial one — he would have stabilized the state of Israel for generations."

Yet the pesky Palestinian minority Morris wishes had been expelled decades ago serves as a deterrent from a nuclear-armed Iran, should the Islamic Republic ever build nuclear weapons and consider using them on Israel. The fact that Arab Israelis were among the casualties of the 2006 war with Hezbollah speaks to the reality that no nuclear attack on Israel could happen without the deaths of countless Palestinians and Israelis, not to mention the likely destruction of Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.

The reality of Palestinian casualties, the destruction of Jerusalem, the onset of regional war and the immediate destruction of Iran's regime as a result of a multilateral conventional or even nuclear counterattack all serve as a credible deterrent to a nuclear Iran. The Iranian leadership has shown a demonstrable interest in self-preservation