Give Benjamin Netanyahu credit for learning from the experience of others. The new Israeli Prime Minister has watched Barack Obama get pushed around on the international stage for the past 100 days, and figures that he can redefine a relationship, too. Bibi will tell Obama that Israel will move no further on Palestinian peace talks until the US removes the threat from Iran:
The new Israeli government will not move ahead on the core issues of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limit Tehran’s rising influence in the region, according to top government officials familiar with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s developing policy on the issue.
“It’s a crucial condition if we want to move forward,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, a member of the Israeli parliament and former ambassador to the United States. “If we want to have a real political process with the Palestinians, then you can’t have the Iranians undermining and sabotaging.”
The emerging Israeli position, a significant change from that of previous governments, presents a challenge for President Obama, who has made quick progress on Palestinian statehood a key foreign policy goal. Obama is also trying to begin engagement with Iran as part of a broad effort to slow its nuclear program and curtail its growing strength in the Middle East.
U.S. officials are wary of linking the two issues and, if anything, would like to do the reverse of what Israel has proposed, by using progress in the Israeli-Palestinian talks to curb Iranian influence, which is wielded in the region through anti-Israeli organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
If that’s really the US position, then the Obama administration hasn’t got a clue. Beating a proxy army doesn’t “reverse” the influence of its sponsors. Israel has beaten Hamas and Hezbollah militarily in every clash of arms, but all that does is increase Iran’s influence. The only way to stop Iran from influencing the Palestinians — really, from funding a proxy terror war on Israel — is to make that so costly to the Iranians to make them stop.
Talking to the Palestinians and giving them their own state will not decrease Iran’s influence one whit. In fact, as Netanyahu knows, it will increase it immeasurably. Iranian influence, strategy, and cash will have gotten the Palestinians partway to their goal, and Iran’s influence would only increase as Hamas at least pushed towards its annihilationist Final Solution for Israel.
The path to peace with Iran will not include a two-state solution. They want total regional domination, and they want Israel destroyed — as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad keeps making clear, publicly, on the international stage. What does it take for people to acknowledge that Ahmadinejad is just as annihilationist as Hamas, and that Iran’s backing of Hamas has that particular goal in mind?
Previous Israeli governments usually deferred to the US in public, even if they pushed back in private on policy in their back yard. Netanyahu has apparently taken the measure of this President and decided that the traditional deference isn’t necessary, after watching him get humbled by the likes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Il, Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and others. If our opponents feel that bold, why not our friends?
Update: Yid with Lid says that the Israeli government is denying this report.