, , ,

Much is being written on the Israeli response to the Geneva agreement. One can find reasoned arguments for and against, that it is a “bad deal” and “historic mistake” (ala PM Netanyahu) and a “mitzvah” (ala former Deputy Prime Minister and Oslo negotiator Yossi Beilin).

The two pieces below published in today’s Al-Monitor offer insight into the security and diplomatic realities and opportunities that will be considered during the next six months of diplomacy hopefully leading to a final agreement, as well as politics in Israel itself.

I find it noteworthy that so often Israel’s military chiefs and former heads of Israel’s security services Shin Bet (ala “The Gatekeepers”) are the least panicked and most clear-thinking people in Israel.

I also have come to believe that though PM Netanyahu, by all accounts, is sincere in his worries over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, as are most Israelis across the political spectrum, Bibi so often plays to the politics of fear, and that usually does not result in the wisest of policies, public statements and consequences.

Fear keeps people stuck in the wounds and sufferings of the past on the one hand, and disallows them the freedom to create new, wiser and more secure realities moving forward on the other. Though there are risks in every option, there are also risks and dangers in doing nothing.

Netanyahu’s alarm about Iran balanced by military chiefs, Al-Monitor – According to Ben Caspit, “There’s no panic at all among Israel’s professional military echelons. Nobody talks about a catastrophe or an imminent second holocaust. People discuss the merits of the agreement with levelheadedness and discretion. After all, doomsday prophecies are not their thing. For this we have Netanyahu.” http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/11/iran-agreement-israel-defense-apparatus-not-alarmist.html#

Netanayahu plays the Iran card in Israeli politics, Al-Monitor – Mazal Mualem makes the case that Netanyahu is “using the Iranian nuclear project for internal political needs.” http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/11/benjamin-netanyahu-deal-nuclear-iran-israeli-public.html

Note: I have just discovered the Al-Monitor Middle Eastern news service. Here is a description of its mission taken from its web-site:

“Al-Monitor – launched February 13, 2012, features reporting and analysis by prominent journalists and experts from the Middle East, including through its Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey Pulses. Al-Monitor’s content is regularly referenced in The Wall Street Journal, Time, Reuters, Le Monde, The New York Times, The Economist and many other publications. The Washington Post has called the site “invaluable,” The Huffington Post referred to it as “increasingly a daily must-read for insightful commentary on the Middle East” while The Economist recommended Al-Monitor’s Egypt and Iran coverage in its What To Read section. Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/about#ixzz2lrdUKijU