I’m not quite sure why this piece outlining Israeli foreign policy is labeled “News Analysis ” — there’s a lot of original reporting in the piece — but I can tell you the policy viewpoints elucidated therein are mind-bogglingly wrongheaded, and I dare say, border on stupid.
“People try to simplify the situation with these formulas: land for peace, two-state solution,” Mr. Lieberman told the newspaper. “It’s a lot more complicated.” He added that the real reason for the deadlock “is not occupation, not settlements and not settlers.” Nor, he said, is it the Palestinians. The biggest obstacle, he said, is “the Iranians.”
He, like the entire Israeli leadership, argues that since Iran sponsors Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, both of which reject Israel’s existence and seek its destruction, the key to the Palestinian solution is to defang Iran and stop it from acquiring the means to build a nuclear weapon.
There’s really a lot to grapple with here, but it’s utterly remarkable that “the entire Israeli leadership” would not stop to ask themselves why it is that Iran is capable of sponsoring Hezbollah and Hamas. The answer, of course, would be anger caused by Israeli occupation, settlements, the settlers. It’s not as though Iran is just disseminating munitions willy-nilly for various groups to use out of bordem. Hezbollah and Hamas use the weapons and money because they have political grievances. If you eliminate the political grievances — and the two state solution is widely considered the best way of muting said discontent — you eliminate the need for these groups to rely on Iran in the first place. It’s a win-win: create better relations with your neighbors and isolate Iran in the process.
What’s more, even if you decide to pursue this strategy of blaming the Iranians for Israel’s illegal settlement activity, it’s not at all clear how you might actually “defang Iran and stop it from acquiring the means to build a nuclear weapon.” In the first place — how do you accomplish this defanging? Take Iran to the vet? Are they proposing invading and forcibly disarming Iran? As for a the nuclear threat, Iran already doesn’t have a nuclear weapon and still manages to create a fair number of headaches for Israel. This again demonstrates the importance of addressing the political grievances of the Palestinians. Without fixing these situations, Iran will always have proxies to torment Israel, whether they have a nuclear arsenal or not. And that’s even before we consider the utter implausibility of Iran using a nuclear weapon offensively, which is itself absurd. Finally, loudly blustering about the need to “defang” Iran will only encourage Iran to continue arming itself and expediting its nuclear program so as to best defend itself against those who wish to defang them.
I’m really at a loss for how incomprehensibly nonsensical this policy is. I really hope Obama can talk some sense into Netanyahu.