When Netanyahu placed the responsibility for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program in American hands, he tirelessly explained in countless speeches that Israel still had a firm grasp on the steering wheel. In practice, the abundance of words testified to the fact that Israel had lost control. Netanyahu found himself outside the Obama-Iran negotiating room and dislodged the legitimacy for an effective Israeli response to the rising Iranian nuclear power from Israel’s hands.
Just as Syria had “no more” chemical weapons after the U.S. pressure, so too Iran “won’t” have nuclear weapons because of the deal Obama made with that country.
Netanyahu is leading us now into a similar process with President Trump. Initially, Trump wanted to fashion a new U.S. policy in the Middle East. “The two-state solution is not the only option,” said Trump on the backdrop of his determination to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. It looked as though all that was left for the Israeli Right to do was sit back and let Uncle Sam pull its chestnuts out from the fire.
Yet, time and again we explained that not only wouldn’t Trump move the embassy, but that it would be Netanyahu who would quash the move. That is exactly what appears to have happened.
There is no vacuum in foreign policy. The Iran fiasco exemplified the fact that in international relations, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. As soon as Trump realized that Netanyahu does not really have an alternative strategy (and that no coherent policy stands behind his unclear platitudes for internal consumption) – as soon as he understood that Netanyahu is no different than Herzog – he could be no different than Obama.
As a result, we will soon see a diplomatic process led by the American and Israeli Right, with no opposition, and all the force characteristic of the new U.S. president. As we come face to face with this dismal state of affairs, Zehut is the only party in Israel that presents a viable alternative to the two-state-solution.