Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to meet with US President Barack Obama on Monday in what many Israelis saw as the “moment of truth” in the ongoing Iran nuclear saga.
The Obama Administration, like much of the West, has been largely taken in by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent charm offensive, and that has Israel worried.
While US officials have struck cautious tone, US Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t succeed in hiding his excitement over the prospect of a “quick deal” to resolve the nuclear crisis.
“If it is a peaceful program, and we can all see that - the whole world sees that - the relationship with Iran can change dramatically for the better and it can change fast,” Kerry said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
Kerry was previously excited over the prospect of a “quick deal” leading to the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His approach to that issue has, after six months, yielded no positive results.
What has Israel concerned is Iran’s ability to fool the West into believing its nuclear program is peaceful. Or, rather, that the West has so little stomach for a fight that it wants to believe Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, even if it isn’t so. As Netanyahu has been pointing out, that is precisely how North Korea managed to defy all international sanctions and threats and test its nuclear weapon.
Many Israelis feel Netanyahu is wasting his time sucking up to Obama and trying to convince him of a threat that Washington has proved it either can’t or won’t deal with.
According to Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, Israel itself should be providing a viable threat of military force should Iran fail to back down. That Netanyahu is not taking this path “is more grave than the collapse of the preconception that led to the Yom Kippur War. The idea of turning this problem into an international problem contradicts the entire Zionist concept,” Feiglin told Israel’s nana10 News.
Nor is Israel the only one worried by the situation.
While Arab leaders have kept tight-lipped in recent weeks, Arab media has been abuzz regarding the possibility of US-Iranian rapprochement, which many Arab news outlets labeled as “worrying” and a cause for “panic.”