The Mossad Didn’t Prove Iran Is Working on a Nuclear Weapon, but That’s Not the Point

In a televised speech on Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israeli intelligence spirited tens of thousands of documents, both physical and digital, out of Iran’s secret nuclear archive. Among these data, said the prime minister, is evidence that the Islamic Republic had been working on developing atomic weapons long after 2003, contrary to the claims it made as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. David Horovitz explains why these revelations matter:

Netanyahu did not seek to claim that Israel had attained smoking-gun evidence that Iran has breached the terms of the . . . 2015 agreement with the ayatollahs. The critics sneering at his ostensible failure to produce a post-2015 smoking gun are—deliberately, as is their wont—missing the point. . . .

It is Israel’s deeply unhappy assessment that the deal is so negligent, so misconceived, so badly constructed, that the Iranians have no need whatsoever to breach it. . . . Why, after all, would they violate the terms of an agreement that, while ostensibly designed to ensure they cannot achieve a nuclear-weapons arsenal, nonetheless entitles them to continue research and development of centrifuges to enrich uranium so that when the deal’s terms expire, they will have mastered an enrichment process ten times faster than the process they had managed before the deal came into force? (They’re already boasting, not incidentally, that they have accelerated the process since they signed the accord.)

Why would they violate the terms of an agreement that does not prevent them from continuing to develop their ballistic-missile program—the means of delivery for their anticipated nuclear devices—to bring Europe and the United States into range? Why would they violate the terms of an agreement that left significant parts of their nuclear program intact? . . . Israel’s contention is not that Iran is breaching the deal. It is, rather, that this agreement, far from preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear-weapons arsenal, paves Iran’s path to it. . . .

Netanyahu’s critics further assert that there was nothing new in the material he presented—nothing new in the showcasing of Iran’s own evidence of its deceit, and of the specifics of its nuclear-weapons program. First of all, that criticism is patently false. The International Atomic Energy Agency, in its own reporting, has never claimed to have attained remotely comparable access to Iran’s own documentation. . . . [S]econdly, if it is the [deal’s Western negotiators’] contention that they knew every detail of the program as now conclusively presented by Netanyahu, and knew therefore the precise extent of Iran’s duplicity, then how could they possibly have negotiated so lax an accord with the ayatollahs?

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

By Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan, the U.S. Has Freed Israel from “Land for Peace”

March 25 2019

In the 52 years since Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, there have been multiple efforts to negotiate their return in exchange for Damascus ending its continuous war against the Jewish state. Shmuel Rosner argues that, with his announcement on Thursday acknowledging the legitimacy of Jerusalem’s claim to the Golan, Donald Trump has finally decoupled territorial concessions from peacemaking:

[With] the takeover of much of Syria by Iran and its proxies, . . . Israel had no choice but to give up on the idea of withdrawing from the Golan Heights. But this reality involves a complete overhaul of the way the international community thinks not just about the Golan Heights but also about all of the lands Israel occupied in 1967. . . .

Withdrawal worked for Israel once, in 1979, when it signed a peace agreement with Egypt and left the Sinai Peninsula, which had also been occupied in 1967. But that also set a problematic precedent. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt insisted that Israel hand back the entire peninsula to the last inch. Israel decided that the reward was worth the price, as a major Arab country agreed to break with other Arab states and accept Israel’s legitimacy.

But there was a hidden, unanticipated cost: Israel’s adversaries, in future negotiations, would demand the same kind of compensation. The 1967 line—what Israel controlled before the war—became the starting point for all Arab countries, including Syria. It became a sacred formula, worshiped by the international community.

What President Trump is doing extends far beyond the ability of Israel to control the Golan Heights, to settle it, and to invest in it. The American president is setting the clock back to before the peace deal with Egypt, to a time when Israel could argue that the reward for peace is peace—not land. Syria, of course, is unlikely to accept this. At least not in the short term. But maybe someday, a Syrian leader will come along who doesn’t entertain the thought that Israel might agree to return to the pre-1967 line and who will accept a different formula for achieving peace.

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More about: Donald Trump, Golan Heights, Israel & Zionis, Peace Process, Sinai Peninsula, Syria