Why Netanyahu Won’t Yield – Michael Oren
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been labeled a warmonger, a wolf-crier and an opponent of peace at any price because of his policies on Iran. Why would he risk international isolation and friction with crucial allies? And why, as some commentators assert, would Netanyahu jeopardize a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear threat and drag his country – and perhaps not only his – into war?
The answers to these questions are simple. Netanyahu is acting out of a deep sense of duty to defend Israel against an existential threat. Such dangers are rare in most countries’ experience but are traumatically common in Israel’s, and they render the price of ridicule irrelevant.
When formulating policies vital to Israel’s survival, the prime minister consults with Israel’s renowned intelligence community. Israeli experts agree that for hegemonic purposes and internal security, the Iranian regime wants and needs the bomb. Consequently, it will employ any ruse to preserve the ability to produce a weapon in a matter of weeks while obtaining some relief from sanctions.
Iranian leaders know – and Israel’s analysts agree – that lessening the economic pressure on Iran will send an incontrovertible message to foreign companies that the sanctions are ending.
Knowing that, Netanyahu is duty-bound to warn of Iranian subterfuge, to insist that Iran cede its centrifuges, cease enrichment, close its heavy-water plant and transfer its nuclear stockpiles abroad. He has a responsibility to explain that although Israel has the most to gain from diplomacy, it also has the most to lose from its failure. Critics can call him militant or intransigent, but Netanyahu is merely doing his job. The writer served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013. (Los Angeles Times