Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to Washington will be the most important one in his long career as ambassador, politician and national leader. On Monday, Netanyahu will meet President Barack Obama in the White House for a game of diplomatic poker, where the greatest gamble of all will be right on the table: an attack on Iran's nuclear installations.
Netanyahu would prefer to see the American superpower, with its vast range of military capabilities, pulverize Iran's nuclear project. For his part, Obama would prefer, if an attack must be launched, that the job be done by Israel, while the United States would serve as the "responsible adult" who comes in afterward to make order in the Middle East.The combination of threatening declarations and briefings, especially from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and long-range training missions conducted by the Israel Air Force has shown the world that Israel means business. That is the reason for the flurry of visits by senior U.S. administration officials, who have been coming here and asking Israel to "give the sanctions a chance."The recent behavior of Iran - which has accelerated its nuclear development program despite the imposition of tougher sanctions, the assassination of Iranian scientists, and the threats of war - only strengthens the credibility of the Israeli message that time is running out and that the window of opportunity for taking action is about to closeBenjamin Netanyahu now returns to Washington from a position of strength: Both the politicians and the media in America seem to be focusing their attention almost exclusively on Iran, while Obama is fighting to be reelected and needs the American Jewish community's support.Lest anyone be mistaken or confused, it must be reiterated that the contacts between Netanyahu and Obama are devoid of warmth, mutual esteem and credibility. Whereas the president sees the premier as a liar who uses subversive tactics, shamelessly meddles in American politics and is encouraging the Republican campaign to topple him - Netanyahu sees Obama as a spineless left-winger whose fantasies about world peace are threatening Israel with the prospect of a second Holocaust, should Iran be allowed to realize its nuclear ambitions and arm itself with a bomb.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will press U.S. President Barack Obama for an explicit threat of military action against Iran if sanctions fail and Tehran's nuclear program advances beyond specified “red lines,” it was reported on Thursday.
The report quoted diplomats as having said that Israel is angered by the Obama administration's public disparaging of early military action against Iran, saying that it weakens the prospect of Tehran taking the warnings from Israel seriously.
While the two sides are attempting to agree on a joint public statement to paper over the divide, the Guardian noted, the talks will not be made easier by a deepening distrust in which the Israelis question Obama's commitment to confront Iran.
One diplomatic source was quoted as having told the Guardian that Netanyahu and Obama “are poles apart.”Israeli officials, the Guardian reported, say that Netanyahu is not happy with Obama's “vague assertion” that all options are on the table in dealing with Iran. Netanyahu wants Obama to state unequivocally that Washington is prepared to use force if Iran's nuclear program advances beyond specified red lines, they said.
The view from Jerusalem: For 15 years we've been warning them about the Iranian bomb. For 10 years we've been giving them solid evidence. But they ignore us and refuse to budge. They tell us we're Masada-obsessed wackos who haven't recovered from the trauma of Auschwitz. They tell us they're loyal and intelligent and can be trusted. But the facts prove they cannot be trusted. They were wrong in Pakistan and wrong in North Korea and wrong in Osirak. They have betrayed every friend they had in the Middle East. When it transpires they were wrong about Iran as well, they will throw us into the garbage bin of history. But we're no suckers. We know the game and we will disrupt it - we'll preempt them. Instead of withering at their convenience, we'll strike at our convenience.The view from Washington: The name of the game is "alibi."But we have to go through the motions for the sake of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates. We have to go through the motions for Israel and the Jewish community. We've got to win in November. So we're putting on a show that Broadway can only dream of - make-believe warnings, make-believe sanctions, a make-believe military option. Make-believe unlimited support for the Jewish state and moderate Arab state. But after November we're getting rid of the props, dispersing the band and returning the costumes to the storeroom. We'll close some deal with the ayatollahs. We'll get a promise from Ali Khamenei not to set off the first nuclear explosion before 2016. This will ensure that during the second term both the American economy and Iranian centrifuges will be moving full steam ahead. And when the world finds out we were wrong and misled it, we'll say, oops, mistake. We tried, we really did. We have an alibi. Our hands did not enrich that uranium. Really, our heart aches for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates and Israel. The thought of Israel, especially, floods our Democratic heart with compassion.