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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776
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Iran Deal Marks Vast U.S. Israel Gap on Existential Issues

Naftali Bennett said that "if in five years a nuclear suitcase explodes in New York or Madrid, it will be because of this deal."

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President Obama shaking hands with Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The latter said this morning that "when you see the smiles on the faces of the Iranians, it's clear that victory is theirs.

President Obama shaking hands with Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The latter said this morning that "when you see the smiles on the faces of the Iranians, it's clear that victory is theirs.
Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash 90

Israel’s freshly reinstated foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday morning told Army Radio he was unhappy with the signing of the deal between Iran and the West. “There’s no dismantling of the centrifuges and no shipping out of the country of the fissile material from the uranium,” Lieberman said.

Instead, he complained, “there is recognition of Iran’s legitimate right to enrich uranium, despite its blatant disregard for every possible agreement. As soon as they enter a nuclear arms race, all the countries of the region will follow.”

Lieberman suggested the Iranians “possess enough material to produce several bombs, not just one.”

Asked if Israel will attack Iran in light of the new reality, Lieberman said, “You must understand that this brings us to a new reality, us and the Saudis as well. Anyone who follows their reactions would realize that this isn’t just our concern, but the concern of all the states in the region. It looks like we’ll have to make decisions – with all the options on the table.”

Lieberman also pointed out that “when you see the smiles on the faces of the Iranians, it’s clear that victory is theirs. The one making decisions there is still Khamenei.”

Sources in the prime minister’s office told Ma’ariv that this is a bad agreement, which “awards Iran everything it desired – both a significant reduction of the sanctions and preserving the most significant components of its nuclear program. The deal enables Iran to continue enriching uranium, and lets it keep all its centrifuges making fissile material for a nuclear weapon.”

The same sources added that the deal does not require the dismantling of the heavy water plant in Arak, repeating Israel’s point that keeping Iran under continued economic pressure would have yielded a much better deal that included degrading Iran’s n uclear capabilities.

Minister of Intelligence Yuval Steinitz said on Sunday that “Israel cannot partake in the international celebration which is founded on Iran’s con job and on self deception.”

According to Steinitz, “the last minute changes are far from satisfying us, and the deal was and remains a bad deal, making it harder to reach a suitable solution in the future. Like the failed deal with North Korea, the current deal will most likely bring Iran closer to getting the bomb.”

Nevertheless, the minister said that “despite our disappointment, we’ll continue to insist on our positions and to work with our friends in the U.S. and the world to seek an inclusive solution that will feature a real and complete dismantling of the Iran’s military nuclear infrastructure.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid told Army Radio that “it’s a bad deal. I’m concerned on two levels: one, about the deal and its ramifications, and two, because we’ve lost the ear of the world. Our role is to be the ones who issue the warnings. We have 6 months, at the end of which we must be back at a situation where the Americans are listening to us the way they used to.”

Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett said that “if in five years a nuclear suitcase explodes in New York or Madrid, it will be because of this deal. We woke up this morning to a reality in which a bad, very bad deal had been signed in Geneva.”

Bennett warned that Israel is not obligated to keep a deal which threatens its very existence.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon also warned that “all the options are still on the table and Israel has the duty and the ability to defend itself.”

Likud MK Moshe Feiglin said the deal was “an Iranian Munich agreement. like Czechoslovakia back then, which was not allowed to participate in the discussion, and its fate was determined by the Western powers, Israel today is also looking on from the sidelines and seeing its national interest being sacrificed by the Western powers.”

Likud MK Reuven Livni suggested that “the American attempt to calm us down worries me the most.” He noted that “undoubtedly, this deal reflects differences between us and the west and the U.S. which are not merely tactical but strategic. This is a dangerous agreement which prevents war only for the time being but does nothing to remove this option off the table.”

Metetz Chairperson Zehava Gal-on and Communist MK Dov Haanin both praised the deal, saying it would now free Netanyahu up to reaching a deal with the Palestinians.

See? Every cloud has a silver lining, and every serious political article must offer some comic relief.

Speaking of comic relief, here are John Cleese and Peter Cook in their immortal sketch “Peace in our Time.”

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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