RISHON LEZION, Israel, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The Business Data Israel Ltd. research company estimates that an Israeli attack on Iran would cost Israel $41.4 billion.
The BDI estimate includes the direct and indirect financial damage to the Israeli economy from an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
BDI costs the immediate cost to the Israeli economy from such an attack at $11.66 billion, plus $5.95 billion annually in lost gross domestic product for five years in the wake of the attack because of the collapse of businesses.
BDI used as a baseline the 2006 32-day Second Lebanon War, which cost Israeli .5 percent of GDP in lost growth. BDI also factored in the direct costs of that war, an additional $1.98 billion in civilian property damage, damage to infrastructures and underwriting the direct costs of the war, Israel's Globes business newspaper reported.
"In the event of a war on the same scale (as Lebanon in 2006), with the same duration and damage, then it is possible to expect $3.97 billion in damage," BDI said.
BDI pointed out that most of the damage in the Second Lebanon War occurred in the north, which produces 20 percent of Israel's GDP. It can be assumed that in the event of a war, it will also include the center of the country, which produces about 70 percent of Israel's GDP, BDI said.
In 2011, GDP totaled $216 billion and the cost of such a war is estimated at three times the cost of the last war, or $11.6 billion, the company said.
"This amount is not the final figure," BDI said. "There is damage which is difficult to estimate, such as the loss of foreign customers and the collapse of businesses (especially small businesses), which could be permanent.
"A conservative estimate of the collapse of 10 percent of small businesses ... as the result of a war (due to the slowdown, lack of financial depth, drop in demand), we estimate the loss of GDP at $5.95 billion a year for 3-5 years, in addition to the direct damage."
Israel has been the prime international mover behind efforts to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear activities, as the Israeli leadership claims it masks a nuclear weapons program, a charge that Iran strongly denies.
The United States is also pressuring Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment programs and there is speculation as to how much divergence there is between the Israeli and U.S. positions.
Amid the uncertainty, recent Israeli media interviews by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak seem to indicate that speculation in the Israeli media about a possible unilateral Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities in fact may be a negotiating ploy whereby Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Barak hope to impel U.S. policies toward closer support of Israel's "red lines" on Iran's nuclear program.
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