Israel Must Speak Up about the Threat Posed by a Possible U.S.-Iran “Understanding”

According to a series of recent reports, the Biden administration is considering a limited agreement with Tehran in which the latter will slow down its nuclear activities in exchange for millions of dollars in sanctions relief. Seeking to avoid the congressional oversight that would be triggered by any sort of formal deal with Iran, the White House has been careful to refer to this arrangement simply as an “understanding.” Jacob Nagel examines the problems posed by this policy, and how the Jewish state should react:

The idea is to freeze Iran’s progress when it comes to highly enriched uranium in exchange for partial sanctions relief (oil sales), the release of some frozen funds, and the freeing of prisoners. . . . The agreement will legitimize all previous Iranian violations [of its nuclear commitments] and allow Iran to retain the assets obtained through the ongoing violation of all agreements and treaties it has signed, while injecting billions of dollars to revitalize the economy. It will also enable [Tehran’s] continued support of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world.

Israel must highlight up front—and loudly—the dangers of the provisions being formulated and express firm opposition even at the cost of harming the prospect of a possible deal with Saudi Arabia, which in itself is very important but much less so than concessions given to Iran on its nuclear program.

Iran is trying to draw Israel into a multi-theater conflagration while staying out of direct confrontation for the time being. Israel must continue to improve its military capabilities while at the same time send a clear message against the understandings being formulated. Every hint that there is anything to talk about will convey that Israel is weak—like the U.S.—and cannot be trusted. The message will reach our friends in the Gulf, those who have signed agreements with us, and those who may sign in the future—but only if Israel will remain strong against the Iranian threats.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, U.S. Foreign policy, U.S.-Israel relationship

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship