Netanyahu Opposition to Iran Deal Not Shared by All Israelis

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been urging that the Iran nuclear deal be either “fixed or nixed,” not all in Israel have been clamoring to cancel the agreement.

“An American announcement that it’s withdrawing from the agreement would let Iran drive a wedge between the world powers, and gradually loosen international oversight over its nuclear program,” Amos Gilad, a retired senior Israeli defense official, told Haaretz.

“If the Americans abandon the agreement, they have to prepare for alternatives, and I don’t see this being done,” he said.

Gilad said Israel needs to prioritize the threats it faces.

“If Iran now continues to suspend its nuclear project for eight or 10 years, in accordance with the agreement, that will let us focus on more urgent threats relating to the Iranian army establishing a presence in Syria, and preparing the Israeli army for the possibility that, in the future, we’ll have to deal with the nuclear [issue] if a confrontation erupts,” he said.

“Even after Netanyahu’s impressive news conference, I don’t see other countries, other than the United States, taking a stance in favor of abandoning the agreement. Russia is a strategic partner of Iran’s in Syria. China trades with Iran, and the Europeans aren’t budging from their position,” Gilad said.

In a recent interview, Israeli military chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot told Haaretz that he knows of no violations of the nuclear deal by Iran, though he said Israel is closely watching.

“If its intentions change, we will know. Right now the agreement, with all its faults, is working and is putting off realization of the Iranian nuclear vision by 10 to 15 years,” he said.

Yoel Guzansky, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank, said “the deal is flawed and has many, many problems. I sure hope there is a better deal, but I haven’t seen it. “