By Amnon Lord
“We’re in the endgame." [...You never know—this story could already be happening.]
Translated by Viktoria Lymar
Edited by Steven Stenzler
24 November 2014
The choice made by retired senior officials to hurt the national interest and join the American attack on the Prime Minister weakens Israel’s bargaining power.
A couple of days ago, Politico published a horror scenario as the finishing line of the negotiations with Iran approaches – which falls today, November 24. To illustrate what is at stake, Matthew Burrows wrote a futurist scenario, “How the Middle East’s First Nuclear War Started.”
So says an attractive female agent to an Arab agent, a man of unclear identity, at a meeting in a public park in Paris: “We’re in the endgame.” She passes him a package. “This gives the Saudis all they need. We know they are struggling without success to develop their own nuclear weapons.
And to be honest, with the American position as it is, the Saudis have little choice now but to destroy the Iranian program themselves. Yes, Jamil, helping the Saudis is a risk on our part. But we don’t have many options either. All this talk of reform? We’re sure that Iran is still backing Hamas and Hezbollah covertly. And U.S. officials are turning a blind eye—to that and the weapons.”
“[A] nuclear Iran dominating all of us is something else [than the Palestinians],” she tells him. “Working with the Saudis against Iran is our chance to finally build bridges to the Arabs.”1
At the end of the fictional futuristic scenario, the Saudi assault is followed, in a second wave, by Israeli air force fighters. Because of the destruction of the various facilities, a terrible environmental disaster has been caused in Iran, with tens of thousands of casualties. The Iranians respond toward Saudi Arabia with a nuclear-armed missile they already have. Israel suffers. But surprisingly, the dreadful war, with deaths on all sides totaling hundreds of thousands, is over within a month.
Today’s suspension of the talks with no solution is fine with the estimates and expectations in Israel. The Israelis prefer the continued pressure of the sanctions regime against Iran, and certainly oppose lifting the sanctions in exchange for Iran’s signature.
May the last year of negotiations with the Iranians be considered a failure? The Iranians, even with the continuation of the sanctions, have gained a lot. They have earned international legitimacy. Many smiling photo ops of Jawad Zarif with Catherine Ashton and John Kerry particularly, two of the most foolish characters who ever got on the stage of international diplomatic history. They proved that the storylines of the ridiculous French town of Clochemerle, and the stories of the Italian priest Don Camillo played by comedian Fernandel, can also occur in the global arena. It doesn't have to happen in Chelm2 or Afula3.
A Deal with the Iranians in Two or Three Months?
Partially, U.S. President Obama’s plan has succeeded. He prevented Israel from striking and launching a war in the region. But Prime Minister Netanyahu can credit Israel with success for forcing the Western powers to stick with the Iran sanctions regime and putting Iran in the international corner.
Despite all the bad blood, Israel says the Americans have engaged our people in what was going on, were attentive to our demands, and these demands prevented a complete capitulation of Kerry and Ashton at this stage. It has to be seen what develops from here on. As with the postponement of the previous target date, it could be that this time, an agreement will be reached in two or three months, and any delay is intended to lend more credibility to the presentation of tough talks with the Iranians. The Iranians have given up nothing. They’ve remained with the right to enrich uranium. They stay with the infrastructure. It’s not like the destruction of the chemical weapons in Syria, in the framework of which the production infrastructures were also demolished.
The domestic question in Israel that is troubling is why the heads of the defense establishment, primarily retired high-ranks, have enlisted as an internal lobby in favor of the American government and for weakening the position of the Israeli government, and especially the one at its helm, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The only retired higher-up to appear as a partner to Israel’s bargain rather than a collaborator against Netanyahu was former military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin. Meir Dagan4, Yuval Diskin5, Ephraim Halevy6, Gabi Ashkenazi7 have created a feeling over the past four years that they obey other voices.
Not those of the government of Israel. Even major Israeli media outlets reacted automatically to the clicks of the buttons from the White House and the Office of the Chancellor of Germany. From their vantage point, between attacking Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s existential interests, they prefer to harm the national interest and to join the U.S. administration’s offensive on Netanyahu.
This is the kind of contempt that weakened the bargaining power of Israel in the recent years.
Original Hebrew article:
Chelm [in Jewish folklore] – a wonderful mythical town in Poland, where all the residents are usually happy, gentle folk who also share another virtue - they are considered fools by everyone living outside of Chelm. But the Chelmites know they are the great sages of the world, the brightest of bright. (http://www.jewishmag.com/83mag/chelm/chelm.htm)
Afula – a small provincial city in the North District of Israel
Meir Dagan – former [10th] Mossad director
Yuval Diskin – former Shin Bet head
Gabi Ashkenazi – former IDF chief of General Staff