Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu minced no words today:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was taking shape in talks in Geneva, and adopting it would be a “mistake of historic proportions”.
“Israel understands that there are proposals on the table in Geneva today that would ease the pressure on Iran for concessions that are not concessions at all. This proposal would allow Iran to retain the capabilities to make nuclear weapons,” he said in a speech.
“Israel totally opposes these proposals. I believe that adopting them would be a mistake of historic proportions. They must be rejected outright.”
This is extraordinary both in its emphatic tone and in its public nature. Plainly, Netanyahu has run into a wall with the Obama administration and has no choice but to sound the alarm publicly.
Meanwhile, in open defiance of the administration’s plea for sanctions leniency the Senate Banking Committee is plunging ahead on new sanctions:
Senator Tim Johnson, the panel’s chairman, told Reuters that Harry Reid, the Senate’s Majority Leader, told him to go ahead with the mark-up – or debate – of the bill, a step toward bringing it to the full Senate for a vote. “We’ll wait until the Geneva meeting is over with, but I talked to Harry Reid about it yesterday and he wants to mark up,” Johnson told Reuters outside the Senate chamber. He said the exact date of the mark-up, during which senators present amendments to the legislation, had not been determined as of Thursday.
That bipartisan support, including from Senate leadership in direct conflict with the administration, reveals how isolated the president is on this issue.
In Israel there is widespread dismay. Daniel Gordis, author and president of the Shalem Foundation in Jerusalem, e-mailed, “Your President is just giving away the store – the store being any sense of responsibility for protecting the future of the west. We’re on our own, and we know it.” He added, “It’s pathetically sad.”
Meanwhile, in a sign of what is to come when the nuclear genie is let out in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is planning ahead, the BBC reports:
Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia, a longstanding U.S. ally in the region, has been growing increasingly anxious over a warming of relations between the U.S. and Shiite Iran over the past few months, despite assurances from Washington that the U.S. would defend the interests of its Middle Eastern allies. Although the U.S. is yet to ease sanctions on Iran, talks to resolve Tehran’s nuclear programs are well on track, with the second round of negotiations set to begin in Geneva on Thursday. Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistan’s nuclear program, and atomic weapons earmarked for Riyadh are now ready for delivery, BBC reported, citing a senior NATO official with access to intelligence reports.
Welcome to the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The president who talked about a world without nukes is on the precipice of ushering in a world in which Shiite and Sunni states arm themselves with WMDs and the terrorists whom they support have easy access to such weapons.
And of course there is consternation here in the United States. Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told me why so many here and abroad are so upset. “The U.S. is offering to ease economic pressure on Iran’s rulers in exchange for an ‘initial understanding’ that ‘potentially’ rolls back their nuclear weapons program.” In other words, President Obama is giving the Iranians what they want and allowing them to keep their nuclear weapons program, which is virtually at the point of breakout.
But Obama would never compromise Israel’s security. He was always going to have Israelis back. The Israeli’s never had a better friend than he. What about all that? Words, just words. His critics on the right never believed him and sadly they may be exactly right.
UPDATE: A key senator Republican Lindsey Graham (S.C.) tells Right Turn: “Is the Israeli Prime Minister worried about where these talks are going? Yes. Should Americans be worried too? You better believe it. ” He added,“Never forget. The same crowd that brought you the Obamacare website is in charge of negotiating the fate of the Iranian nuclear program. If that doesn’t concern you, it should.”