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US President Barack Obama
Photo: EPA
Orly Azoulay
It could have been Netanyahu's finest hour
Analysis: Israel's PM should have realized that the Iran deal train has left the station, conceded defeat and worked to minimize the damage he had inflicted on the bilateral realtions. Moments like this can turn a prime minister into a leader.

Battalions of Jewish leaders, rabbis, lobbyists, and political donors working on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's behalf have been dashing from point to point on Captiol Hill, in order to rally Democratic lawmakers against their sitting president. The mission they where given: trip up Presidnet Barack Obama's foreign policy. Imagine Obama sending his people to the Likud headquarters in order to initiate a revolt against Netanyahu.

 

 

The deal with Iran has led to an openly hostile relationship between the Oval office and the Prime Minister's Residence. If Netanyahu was once received with honor and suspicion in the White House, today the honor has all but vanished, leaving only the suspicion. Obama managed to quite easily aim a few jabs at Netanyahu Wednesday. He categorized those seeking a better deal with Iran as "selling a fantasy," and later labeled the deal's opponents as being "ignorant or not truthful." Harsh words, and not by chance.

 

Obama is a seasoned politician. But even a beginner could easily decrypt the map of interests and power connections between Netanyahu and American politics. More than just battling the deal, Netanyahu is trying to present Obama as a weak and naive president. His mission, the White House claims, is to pave the way for a Republican president.

 

Netanyahu and Obama (Photo: Avi Ohayon) (Photo: GPO)
Netanyahu and Obama (Photo: Avi Ohayon)

 

Obama is dedicated to maintaining Israel's security, and he has proof: During his candidacy Israel received more in terms of security - military and intelligence - than it has received from any other US president. However, during that time the amicable relations and intimate channels that always existed between US and Israeli leaders were destroyed - channels which would have allowed for problems to be solved with trust, quietly, and far from the spotlights.

 

The Iran deal train has already left the station. Even if Congress votes against the deal, it won't have the majority to override Obama's veto. This could have been Netanyahu's golden hour. He could have conceded that after making all that noise, invoking fear and warning the world, he could have said that in the face of no real alternatives he was taking his seat at the table, and accepting all the concessions the US was offering the IDF in order to boost its qualitative edge.

 

Moments like this can turn a prime minister into a leader. He didn’t have to support the deal; he could have just done what his predecessor did. Even when you disagree with the White House, the private channel with the President remains. It’s a key interest for Israel.