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First, after meeting with Obama for the better part of last Monday, Netanyahu that night opened his speech to AIPAC with the following: “Thank you.… I want to thank you for that wonderful reception. This applause could be heard as far away as Jerusalem—the eternal and united capital of Israel [emphasis added].” The eternal capital of Israel, indeed—also a clear message to Obama. In effect, Netanyahu told the president: If you will not support Israel’s legitimate positions regarding Iran, then Israel, in turn, will not even consider your views regarding the “peace process” (conventional wisdom maintaining that Israel should cede East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of any deal).
Second, the day after his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu had this to say to US congressional leaders: There are historical precedents in which Israel acted according to its own interests, despite American opposition. Netanyahu noted that notwithstanding Washington’s opposition David Ben-Gurion declared independence in 1948; Levi Eshkol launched a preemptive attack against Egypt in 1967; and Menachem Begin decided to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Coupled with Netanyahu’s stated commitment that Israel will always remain “master of its fate” in dealing with Tehran, and the writing is on the wall: the Jewish state will go it alone if necessary.
Obama, for his part, also weighed in, holding a “last-minute” press conference—his first in months—which immediately devolved into an attack on the “loose talk of war” emanating from leading Republican presidential candidates (who, by the way, addressed AIPAC earlier that day—see the connection?). Obama cautioned against “beating the drums of war,” and warned of “consequences for Israel if [military] action [against Iran] is taken prematurely.” Concurrently, World Powers, including the US, accepted Tehran’s offer to resume negotiations over its nuclear program without preconditions. The news no doubt reached Netanyahu on Capitol Hill.
Taken together, it appears Israel is on its own should Netanyahu decide to act in the near future. Alternatively, the Jewish state can trust that Obama “has Israel’s back” and that he will put an end to Iran’s nuclear program when Israel no longer has the capability to do so. Will Netanyahu accept Obama at his word? Highly unlikely. What that means is that the time has come for Israel’s true allies to rally behind her. She will need it.
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