Edited by: TJVNews.com
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, on Tuesday afternoon departed Tel Aviv on his first diplomatic visit to Washington. On Sunday, Bennett said that he has a plan to show to President Joe Biden when he meets the American leader on Thursday that can stop Iran’s most nefarious activities, according to a report on the World Israel News web site.
“We will present an orderly plan that we have formulated in the past two months to curb the Iranians, both in the nuclear sphere and vis-à-vis regional aggression,” he said at the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting.
WIN reported that Biden came into office this year saying that returning to the nuclear deal was the best way to stop Iran from attaining the weapons of mass destruction, but that it should be made tougher. His administration also talked of trying to make a separate deal with the Islamic Republic regarding its ballistic missile development, destabilization efforts in neighboring Arab countries and other activities that are not included in the 2015 accord but are harshly opposed by American allies such as Israel and the moderate Sunni states in the region.
Iran has refused to talk about anything other than a return to the original deal, but even those negotiations stopped after six rounds. It has also seriously violated the accords in several ways, including by beginning to enrich uranium to 60% purity, which is a short step from the 90% level needed for a bomb. Most recently, it started producing enriched uranium metal, a material that has no civilian use according to the Western countries signed onto the accord, as was reported by World Israel News.
Israel has never made a secret of its opposition to the nuclear deal although Bennett took a softer line when he came into office in May, saying that he wanted to work with the Americans on the issue, according to the WIN report.
But Iran’s recent progress has been alarming, he said at the meeting, and it is vital that he is going now for his first meeting with the president.
“The visit’s timing is very important,” he said, “because we are at a critical point with Iran…. Iran is advancing rapidly with uranium enrichment, and has already significantly shortened the time it needs to accumulate the necessary material for a single nuclear bomb.”
“I will tell President Biden that this is the time to block the Iranians, to stop this thing, not to give them a lifeline in the form of re-entering a nuclear deal that has already expired. It is no longer relevant, even by the standards of those who once thought that it was.”
WIN reported that while not divulging anything of the Israeli proposal, Bennett may have given a hint by also speaking of Israel’s recent normalization of ties with some Arab countries.
“We are now in a very rapid process… of restoring relations with the entire region so that together we can build a coalition to block Islamic and Iranian extremism. There are many other issues that we can cooperate on,” Bennett said.
Before departing from Ben Gurion airport to the United States on Tuesday afternoon, Bennett delivered the following remarks to the media:
“Good afternoon to everyone. I am now leaving for Washington to meet with US President Joe Biden, an old and true friend of the State of Israel. On Wednesday, I intend to also meet senior administration officials including the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense.
There is a new administration in the US and a new government in Israel, and I am bringing with me from Jerusalem a new spirit of cooperation, which rests on the special and long-standing connection between the two countries. We will deal with many fronts, especially the Iranian front, and especially the jump in the Iranian nuclear program over the past two or three years. In particular, we will discuss the plan to block this program.
We will also deal with several actions to strengthen the Israeli military superiority. Alongside this, we will also deal with the spheres of high-tech, the economy, innovation, the climate crisis that disturbs us all and – of course – the fight against the coronavirus.
I intend to share with President Biden the knowledge and insights we have accumulated in the campaign here – in the State of Israel – regarding the third dose of the vaccine, which I am pleased has already crossed the threshold of 1.5 million people who have been inoculated.
It seems to me as I board the plane that I am leaving behind me an Israel with the first signs of hope for stabilization in the fight against the Delta strain. I have no doubt that the new spirit of cooperation is yielding – and will continue to yield – major achievements for the State of Israel and its security. Thank you all.”
The head of the National Security Council, the Cabinet Secretary, the head of the Prime Minister’s staff, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, the diplomatic adviser and other senior officials are in the Prime Minister’s entourage.
In a recent op-ed piece that appeared on the Arutz Sheva web site, titled, “Accepting Incompetence and Believing the Lies,” Middle East expert Meir Jolovitz writes: “As certain as the sunrise, they (Bennett & Biden) will also fail to come to acceptable conditions that will define the terms addressing the matter of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its pursuit of a nuclear military capability. That is a big deal.
In the case of American-Israeli relations, particularly in the aftermath of the recent Afghanistan debacle and the ever-present fragility of Israel’s coalition government, both political leaders need to deliver a positive message. Both camps seem to believe that there is extant a sensible or justifiable reason to pretend that they have succeeded in discussions, if nothing else than by kicking the can down the road.”
Jolovitz added that, “Several years ago, when visiting the United States, in an interview with a major television news network, Naftali Bennett gave us a hint of who he really was.
With a reputation as a right-wing politician unabashed in blaming the Palestinian Arabs for the atmosphere that is designed to foment terror against the Jewish State, Bennett instead sounded very much like an Obama State Department apologist who frequently posited that terror can be ameliorated with better job opportunities. It was not the argument one expected to hear. After all, Bennett was consistent in his disdain of a prescriptive formula that was seen to be as asinine as it was ignorant.
So, it begs to be asked: Which Naftali Bennett will Joe Biden – or his handlers – now encounter in the coming months? The ideological Bennett who spoke of the murderous Islamic ideology, or the Bennett who promises “no surprises” when dealing with an American foreign policy team that is decidedly pro-2-State illusion and pro-Iranian nuke deal.
In the aftermath of a United States foreign policy disaster in Kabul – replete with the myriad of rationalizations and alibis (read: lies) now exposed as underscoring American incompetence, Team Biden is desperate for a foreign policy achievement. The Palestinians remain – outwardly – intransigent. So, perhaps a more conciliatory offer to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Perhaps Israel served on a silver platter.”
According to a JNS report by Dmitriy Shapiro that appeared on Tuesday, Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO for the Jewish Federations of North America said “The history is that strong relationships between the government of Israel and the government of the United States have transcended what party is in power, what government is in power from either country. But the fact is, when there are new leaders, you have to renew those ties—you have to build the relationship.”
He added that, “From the perspective of Jewish Federations of North America, the most important thing that we want to see is the building of the relationship between the prime minister and the president, and the fact that this is happening despite COVID and despite the challenges that Israel faces, the challenges that the United States faces in the United States and elsewhere, I think is very significant, and it transcends any specific issue we might wish to raise.”
Also speaking to JNS was Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center. He told the wire service: “The most important thing that can come out of this is a good rapport between the prime minister and the president, [so] they can start to build a very productive working relationship. I would say what’s good for the atmosphere in the American-Jewish community is for there to be a good, friendly, productive relationship between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel because if there’s friction, then that creates tension with the community as well.”
“I think, hopefully, in light of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and the election before that of Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran, that there would be an opportunity to perhaps close any gaps that might have existed before between the two governments on the Iran issue,” said Dan Mariaschin, CEO of B’nai Brith International, according to the JNS report. “Israel, of course, has all along expressed its justified opposition to any deal with the Iranians that would create some kind of daylight for them to continue in some way—whether it’s sooner or later—their nuclear program. And now, impacted by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, all of this should be put on pause because we really have to assess what this means for the Iranians in terms of the opportunity for additional instability to be fomented throughout the region.”
He added that,“The P.A. [Palestinian Authority] has not moved at all on pay-for-slay; funds are being given to UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees … really with nothing substantial in terms of reforms, in terms of commitments to change school curricula. And now, there’s also the issue where the administration would like to reopen the consulate in eastern Jerusalem. And if one gives away all of your leverage, without receiving anything in return, then what should we expect?”
Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America told JNS: “I hope what comes out of it is the sanctions that are still in place now will remain in place, and I hope Bennett puts pressure on Biden to not make a deal, at minimum, unless America can visit any military facility at will.
“Right now, it has to give a notice of 28 days. It’s ridiculous. They clear everything out,” he said. “So the three things he’s got to do is to say if you make a deal, you’ve got to have a much longer sunset period—20 or 30 years. Two, you have got to keep the sanctions in place until we see some sort of transformation of the regime towards a civilized society. And three, any new deal has to allow them to visit military facilities at will, not give them a 28-day notice.”
He added that, “Israel is going to try to make it clear that they can’t open a consulate in Israel’s capital because this is a radical terrorist regime that has refused to negotiate for 12 years; pays Arabs to murder Jews and Americans; names schools, streets and sports teams after terrorists; and promotes hatred and violence against Jews in every aspect of their culture,” he said. “This would be the worst appeasement message imaginable—that despite their outrageous behavior, they’re being allowed to open up a consulate in Israel’s capital. This would undermine the thesis that this is Israel’s capital and send a message to them that they can get away with acting horribly and they still get rewarded.”
(Sources: World Israel News, www.JNS.org)