During Sunday’s meeting of the security cabinet, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett referred to the nuclear deal with Iran which is expected to be signed any day now in Vienna, saying: “We need to pick our battles with the Americans. There’s no point in an international tour against the agreement. We need to conduct our battles only where there’s a concrete goal”
Meanwhile, in an interview that aired Sunday on “Life, Liberty & Levin,” former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that when the regime currently led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi is armed with nuclear weapons, “First of all, they can take the entire world hostage.”
“I think it changes history. And that’s why I took the unusual step of coming to the Congress, speaking there – something that was not easy to do,” he told Mark Levin, recalling his March 3, 2015 address to Congress that sealed the rift between his and President Obama’s administrations.
According to Bennett, one concrete goal worth fighting for is the reported offer by the Biden administration to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the State department’s list of terrorist organizations.
Earlier, during the full cabinet meeting, PM Bennett stated: “We are very concerned about the United States’ intention to give in to Iran’s outrageous demand and remove the IRGC from the list of terrorist organizations, the FTO. The IRGC are the largest and most murderous terrorist organization in the world. Unlike ISIS or other organizations, it is backed by a state.
“This is not just an Israeli problem. Other countries – allies of the United States in the region – face this organization day in and day out. In recent years, they have fired missiles at peaceful countries and launched UAVs at Israel and other countries. Even now, the IRGC terrorist organization is trying to murder certain Israelis and Americans around the world.
“Unfortunately, there is still a determination to sign the nuclear deal with Iran at almost any cost – including saying that the world’s largest terrorist organization is not a terrorist organization. This is too high a price.”
Bennet concluded with a vow that “even if this unfortunate decision is made, the State of Israel will continue to treat the IRGC as a terrorist organization, and will continue to act against it as we do against terrorist organizations. As usual, our future will be determined by our actions, not words.”
Netanyahu told Fox News: “Once you have a predatory, and especially in a rogue theocratic regime like this, have nuclear weapons, they can use them in two ways: One, they can threaten you directly with atomic bombs. Secondly, they have a nuclear umbrella, which is … to threaten you with conventional weapons like regular missiles or terrorists or anything else.”
“And by the way,” he pointed out, “If you want to understand how bad this deal is, it not only gives Iran the freedom with an international legitimacy to enrich uranium and an unlimited quantity with much more sophisticated centrifuges in just a few years, it also gives them money an enormous amount of money to boot.”
Of course, Bennett is well aware of the points his adversary was making on Fox News – he himself has been making those same points. But Bennett is not willing to follow Netanyahu’s example of 2015 and severely alienate the American President over what is essentially a moot point.
But there’s another crucial issue that may explain Bennett’s reluctance to go to Washington and condemn President Biden before a joint session of Congress – should the Democratic House Speaker avail him of the opportunity.
Seeing as the bad, really, really bad nuclear deal with Iran is going to become a reality very soon, what are Israel’s options in preventing Iran from attaining its goal of a nuclear device? Sooner or later, Israel would have to attack the Iranian facilities which are spread over many locations and are deep underground.
To carry out a successful attack, Israel must have American authorization. Even if the US prefers to stay out of such an attack, if it doesn’t approve, those Israeli warplanes do not take off. There’s also the matter of relying on American intelligence, including the US extensive satellite coverage of the Middle East. And finally: Israel must acquire US-made ‘bunker busters,’ designed to penetrate hardened targets buried deep underground.
Last week, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced a bill authorizing the President to utilize a Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a.k.a. the bunker buster bomb, to destroy Iranian nuclear infrastructure in the event of a threat to Israel.
“Iran and its terrorist proxies across the region must never be able to threaten the US or Israel with a nuclear weapon,” Gottheimer said in a statement. “Truly, there should be nothing partisan about our national security, nor our relationship with our ally Israel.”
When the time comes, God forbid, Israel cannot afford to be dealing with an alienated Biden administration. Because US support will remain crucial even if the US policy on Iran poses a threat to Israeli security.