Israeli state officials were disappointed Tuesday with the results of the Netanyahu-Obama meeting at the White House on Monday. "There were no surprises," a senior state official said. "It was clear from recent months that there are differences between ourselves and the Americans. We have different perspectives when it comes to the question of time and red lines."
It was claimed that the Americans view the Iranian issue in the context of the upcoming presidential elections. "It's a bad message for the issue and a good message for the Iranians," a state official said.
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"We want the Americans to change their rhetoric vis-à-vis the Iranians. The US says that when Khamenei decides to make a bomb that would be crossing a red line. How do we know for sure he's made the decision? What happens after that? There will be a new discussion on whether this is credible or not."
Netanyahu and Obama meet in White House (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO)
Israeli concerns primarily stem from past differences with the US on the Iranian nuclear issue. For years Israel asserted that Tehran was working on a military nuclear program while Washington refused to accept the Israeli intelligence analysis. It took the Americans two years to become persuaded.
"The Iranians are charging at nuclear capabilities at full force and even the IAEA is falling in line with the Israeli intelligence evaluations," a senior state official said. "That is why the US stance is problematic."
Nevertheless, Israeli officials were pleased with the US assertion that Israel has the right to act. "They won't tell us what to do. They have no interest in giving a red light or a green light because then they take responsibility for the situation. That is why we're in the grey zone now."
Israel's political-security forums are slated to discuss the talks with the US and reach a new status evaluation on Israel's position.
"As of yet, there is no decision to attack but we'll see what tomorrow brings," a senior official close to the talks with the Americans said. "Right now we are certain the Americans won't do anything and we need to decide what to do."
Watch Naftali Bennett and Iranian journalist debate on CNN
Referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama, he added: "The meeting was important because now everything is out in the open: The Americans want oil prices not to go up because it's bad for their economy."
The issue of oil rates also drew criticism from some state officials. "Oil prices? Come on. You have to consider the fate of the Western world and history. It's better to pay more for oil this year than to pay the cost for a nuclear Iran.
"While not making a direct comparison, psychologically the current atmosphere in the West is the same as the one in 1939. Westerners who sought peace and coexistence had options but at the moment of truth they chose to sacrifice Czechoslovakia. We've been there. While being very careful with this analysis, we have the same psychological phenomenon."
Meanwhile, former Yesha Council Secretary-General Naftali Bennett took part in a rare CNN debate opposite an Iranian journalist who claimed Tehran has no military ambitions for its nuclear program.
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