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What does the peace process have to do with Iran?

Several analysis are linking the resumption of the peace talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s desire to legitimize a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Some even claim that the U.S. administration is in the loop. 

There were at least three articles in the Hebrew media this week speculating on the option of an Israeli strike on Iran. All pieces linked those scenarios to the peace process, and to the Wall Street Journal‘s report on reactor in Arak, which is due to become operational in the coming months and could be used for the creation of a plutonium bomb (those reports were already disputed, even in Israel)

Writing for Al-Monitor, Ben Caspit (who opposes the idea of an Israeli attack), speculates:

A week ago [July 30], after the painful decision to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom are “heavyweight” murderers, to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon had something very interesting to say: Underlying the decision to release prisoners — he stated — “were strategic considerations, which might be revealed in the future.” (…) What will we understand in the future? In light of the intimations, the signals and the whispers, we are able to figure out the quiet deal that was cut between Israel and the United States: Israel will do whatever is necessary to start negotiations with the Palestinians, maybe even reach a type of an interim arrangement ahead of the final status arrangement. America will give Israel a green light to bomb Iran after having fully verified that the Iranians are really poised to make the final “charge” toward the bomb.

At Haaretz, Sefi Rachlevsky and Alon Ben David raised the same idea – that the real reason Netanyahu entered the peace process is his desire to legitimize an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities. Rechlevsky is an author and doesn’t have good sources (his article is not as much of a report as an analysis of Netanyahu’s character) but Alon Ben David is a veteran military correspondent. In previous weeks others have made similar suggestions (see Ynet’s military correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai).

There is also speculation that the nature of the understanding on this issue between the American administration and Israel has changed. Former head of military intelligence Amos Yadlin told Israel’s Army Radio this week that the administration’s position has “moved from a red light to yellow.”

Reports are that the heads of Israel’s security forces remain in opposition to an attack, including Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel.

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    1. Richard Witty

      The US and peace logic, is that a negotiated and ratified peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, puts Iranian and Hezbollah out of the picture. (Also jihadists. Also neo-religious Kahanists.)

      I think that is the more important argument.

      Reply to Comment
    2. The Trespasser

      1 – Bombing Iran could not possibly yield any worthy results. Ground operation would be necessary at any case.

      2 – Israel does not have enough military power to unleash full-scale war against a nation which is 10 times larger and is located 1400 kilometers away.

      3 – USA, being the archenemy of Iran (the Great Satan, compared to the Small Satan – Israel) is not any more interested in nuclear-capable Iran than Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    3. This seems to me to be a familiar Israeli tactic. They impute a concession to the US which in fact the US has never made and has no intention of making, and try to use the imputation, which will naturally get repeated throughout the US press, as a form of blackmail, to pressure the US government via supposedly aroused US public opinion into making some sort of commitment that it would not otherwise make. This tactic, to my recollection, never actually works. But it corresponds to a belief in the Israeli political elite, so Israel keeps on attempting it. Similarly, I could easily imagine them imputing a statement to some unnamed US official to the effect that Pollard would be released if Israel was helpful in the US spectacle that calls itself “the peace process”. No anonymous US official would ever leak a policy change regarding Pollard to the Israel or US press, if such a policy change really existed, but the idea would be to create a brouhaha which would increase the pressure on the USG to make some sort of concession just to stop the nuisance. It’s a naive tactic, but it’s very familiar to me.

      Reply to Comment
      • To judge by the abstract, that’s a bleak but realistic view you have there. Perhaps you could smuggle out a copy of the full text for us in some way?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Giora Me'ir

      The whole thing is a joke. The U.S. should moving to direct talks with Iran. Instead, it is letting Netanyahu ask for a quid pro quo at the same time he’s undermining the so-called “peace talks” by announcing an expansion of the settlements almost on a daily basis.

      The Israeli tail keeps wagging the dog. Unabated.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      I seriously doubt Obama has given any green (or even yellow) light to an attack on Iran. This is just Israeli wishful thinking coupled with Netanyahu’s propensity to obsess about Iran.

      Nothing in Obama’s mindset has changed (or will change) because he knows full well the disastrous consequences of an attack on Iran.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        In the light of the fact that Mr. Obama is not a complete idiot, he knows full well that no Iran at all is much better than nuclear-capable Iran.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Bombing Iran would force its new President into a pure hard line stance. I would rather consider that the Israeli noise reflects worry that some sort of movement between Iran and the US/Europe might be possible. In any case, if one enters peace talks to get big brother to bomb distantly, there really will be no peace talks at all. Nor can I see the US agreeing to such a linkage in any form. Rather, Israel proffering such would be seen as a strong indicator of insincerity.

      Reply to Comment
    7. The peace process has a lot to do with Iran, if Iran develops nuclear weapons the peace process will be stalled.

      Iran must be stopped by all means available to America and Israel

      Reply to Comment
    8. Juan Epstein

      So in order to give peace a chance , Israel needs to start another war ???

      More certifiable lunacy from an insane world.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Exactly right. That’s been the recipe until now. Israel doesn’t really expect peace – not for the reasons it always gives and that people like Trespasser and Szyster echo, but because deep inside, it knows that what it has done and goes on doing to the Palestinians excludes such a possibility. But it does expect quiet. After each war comes quiet – for a while.

        Reply to Comment
    9. Freddy Terranean

      Why would Iran even be interested in Israel?

      If Iran were truly interested in the well-being of the Palestinians, Iran could have Hezbollah be very helpful to the Palestinians in the UN camps in Lebanon.

      I suppose it could simply be Jew-hatred. But it would be more logical to look at it as laying the foundation of a new Persian Empire. If Iran could eliminate or even put up a good fight against Israel, Iran could vastly increase its popularity in the Sunni oil states; Resolving the Shiite-Sunni dispute in Iran’s favor.

      Iran is so in love with nuclear weapons that they are willing to risk regime survival in order to get them. Nobody talked about bombing Iran until their nuclear weapons program got well underway.

      And why would the US think that a peace treaty between the PA and Israel would help the US? Will jihad or terrorism go away? Hamas and the rest of the Islamists already trash Abbas as a sell-out.

      Kerry is an old peacenik. Maybe that’s the whole explanation for the US position.

      Reply to Comment