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Israelis Divided over Speech, Not over a Bad Deal with Iran

David Horovitz writes at The Times of Israel that although Israelis may be at odds over whether PM Netanyahu should speak before the U.S. Congress, they are united in dismay at the nuclear agreement Obama is seemingly pushing:

It is not inexplicable only to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Obama administration appears hell-bent on leading the international community into a deal that will apparently reward the Islamist regime in Tehran for lying about its nuclear program by allowing it to become a nuclear threshold state, with the right to enrich uranium via thousands upon thousands of centrifuges.

The looming deal is similarly inexplicable to the political rivals of Netanyahu who are campaigning to oust him in general elections on March 17. “I’m worried about a bad deal as well, and [about the international community] caving into all sorts of Iranian pressure as well,” Isaac Herzog, the center-left Zionist Union leader who is Netanyahu’s leading challenger, said in a CNN interview on Friday.

Where Herzog and other Israeli party leaders differ with Netanyahu is over his handling of the crisis. Like Herzog, centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid does not underestimate the Iranian threat. They just both think that Netanyahu is acting counterproductively and for domestic political reasons by preparing to lobby publicly against Obama in Congress, when they say he ought to be working to shift the administration more discreetly, behind the scenes. …

In truth, it can hardly be doubted that Netanyahu has tried to impact the president’s stance in years of one-on-one conversations and in the endless top-level contacts between his officials and the Obama administration. The nature of the imminent deal — whose terms cannot be independently verified, but are profoundly troubling to such diplomatic veterans as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz — would indicate that private argument and entreaty have failed. His critics would suggest that had Netanyahu been more flexible on Israeli-Palestinian matters, ready to rein in settlements, more receptive to Arab Peace Initiative overtures, less confrontational with Obama, his Iran concerns might have gained a more resonant hearing. Perhaps.

Tags: US-Israel Relations , Iran

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