On Iran, Israel’s Margin for Error Is Zero – Gary Rosenblatt interviews Michael Oren
(dailyalert.org, Dec. 12, 10014)
Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, speaking last week to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that “this administration [in Washington] has a worldview that is not in accord with any Israeli government,” not just the current one. Describing the Obama administration as “ideological” on the Mideast, Oren said the White House views Jerusalem communities like Gilo as not necessarily part of the Jewish state, a position he said no Israeli government would accept. (Gilo is over the Green Line but part of the Jerusalem municipality, with a largely Jewish population.)
Though he said the U.S.-Israel relationship is crucial – “we [Washington and Jerusalem] have no choice but to be allies” – he asserted on several occasions that “Israel has to take responsibility for itself.” While on security matters, Israeli officials give the U.S. high marks on cooperation, it was clear, if not explicitly stated, that Oren feels the Obama administration has not lived up to its “no daylight” pledge to be in sync with Israel on key strategic and diplomatic issues.
Asked about the West’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Oren first noted that Israel’s “margin for error is exactly zero” on this issue, given Iran’s longstanding threat to destroy the Jewish state. “We [the Jewish people] have not come back after 2,000 years to disappear,” he added.
As for the prospect of peace with the Palestinians, he said, “I’ve erased the wold ‘solution’ from my vocabulary.” He spoke of “managing the conflict” and seeking to enhance the lives of Israelis and Palestinians through cooperation in trade, exports, etc., until conditions improve enough to explore a real peace. Last week he told the Saban Forum of the Brookings Institute that the Palestinians aren’t interested in negotiations. “The Palestinians have chosen a different path, the destructive path of delegitimization of Israel.” (New York Jewish Week)