Publicly it was all smiles and handshakes and flowery rhetoric about the “bone-deep” connection between Israel and America. But it didn’t take much reading between the lines to realize that Israel was left disappointed by US President Joe Biden’s continued insistence on treating Iran with kid gloves.
And this disappointment was across the board, from left to right and into the IDF.
During their joint press conference in Jerusalem, interim Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid turned to Biden and insisted that “diplomacy alone won’t stop Iran from going nuclear,” and that a viable military threat was needed.
Right there in front of the gathered reporters, Biden disagreed, pressing his view that the diplomacy was the proper course, and the one he’d continue pursuing. A day earlier, Biden had told Israel’s Channel 12 News that his administration would resort to force “as a last resort” to prevent Iran from going nuclear. But it was a far-off speculation in the president’s mind, and unlikely to cause any consternation in Tehran.
Hours after appearing with Lapid, Biden met with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who told him the exact same thing: that at this point, only a credible threat of overwhelming military action can stop Iran. No doubt Biden was equally unreceptive to that message as he had been with Lapid.
This point of tension between Israel and the visiting American leader was later highlighted by defense establishment officials who bemoaned the lack of clarity in Washington’s approach to the problem.
IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Aviv Kochavi recently instructed the Israeli military to accelerate preparation for a possible strike against Iran. But carrying out such an assault will require some form of American involvement. The problem is that the Americans haven’t and won’t present any kind of completed attack plan.
“We have not been able to persuade the United States to toughen its stance on Iran and increase pressure on Tehran. There must be a complete and viable military option,” Israeli defense officials told Channel 12.
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