נדב איל אייל
Nadav Eyal
Photo: Avigail Uzi
Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett

Israel juggling Iran, Gaza, and domestic politics

Analysis: Upcoming week may be a significant turning point for the security and political future of the country; with Iran nuclear deal at crossroads and terror wave claiming more and more lives, Bennett's coalition wants to prove it can persevere

Nadav Eyal |
Published: 05.08.22, 23:29
Israel is facing a dramatic upcoming week, readying to to put out fires on the Iranian front, as well as the Gaza Strip and the domestic political arena.
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  • While the nuclear deal with Tehran is low on the list of public interests, it is debatably the most significant of challenges.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
     ישיבת ממשלה
     ישיבת ממשלה
    Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: EPA)
    This week could very well determine whether Iran puts an end to the U.S. attempts to reach a nuclear deal once and for all.
    As of now, negotiations have stalled and the West is realizing that Iran never intended on reaching a deal to begin with. "The public must be told in all honesty that the deal would not succeed," one Iranian negotiator said last week.
    Still, the Europeans and Americans are making last ditch efforts to gauge the position of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei and those around him, and are struggling to find a solution to the demand to delist the IRGC from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
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    World powers meet with Iranian officials in Vienna to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal
    World powers meet with Iranian officials in Vienna to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal
    World powers meet with Iranian officials in Vienna to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal
    (Photo: Reuters)
    A failure of the Vienna talks will have long-term ramifications.
    Since U.S. President Joe Biden took office, both the Untied States and Iran made considerable efforts to avoid a regional conflict while talks were ongoing, but according to a Western official, without an attempt to reach a nuclear deal, we will enter unchartered waters.
    "Is Iran stockpiling high grade enriched uranium, and if so what should be the response of the West?," the official asked.
    Israel will have to ask even more poignant questions in case of nuclear talks ending.
    In a recent article published in Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronot, the Israeli Air Force official commanding the F-35 fleet was quoted as saying that over the past decade, consecutive governments led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, diverted funds away from a potential attack of Iran's nuclear facilities. "I cannot say that we are prepared for such a mission," he said.
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    בנימין נתניהו נאום העצרת הכללית של האו"ם
    בנימין נתניהו נאום העצרת הכללית של האו"ם
    Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech to the UN General Assembly
    (Photo: EPA)
    A closer and much more immediate threat to Israel, however, is the ongoing terror wave, which claimed the lives of three more people on Thursday, during a stabbing spree in the city of Elad.
    Social media has since been abuzz with populistic posts, calling for the assassination of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, an incursion into the Gaza Strip, and more.
    Some point to Netanyahu's decision to release Sinwar as part of the prisoner exchange deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was held by Hamas for five years.
    Netanyahu supporters blamed the press for the costly prisoner deal, as if the former prime minister was unable to withstand the pressure.
    Sinwar is a fundamentalists murderer who failed at his main political role of improving the quality of life in Gaza. However, killing him would ensure a war with terror factions in the Strip and weeks of rocket fire at Israeli communities.
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    Nizar Awadallah (center left) with Yahya Sinwar  whom he challenged for the leadership of Hamas in the 2021 elections
    Nizar Awadallah (center left) with Yahya Sinwar  whom he challenged for the leadership of Hamas in the 2021 elections
    Nizar Awadallah (center left) with Yahya Sinwar whom he challenged for the leadership of Hamas in the 2021 elections
    (Photo: AFP)
    The outcry on social media reflects the public's need for answers from the Knesset, a justified demand, given 18 Israelis were murdered in the last few weeks in terror attacks.
    Some of these attacks were carried out by lone wolf actors, posing a new and especially difficult challenge for security and intelligence agencies, which are struggling to prevent them.
    Punishing Gaza for those attacks would only increase the chances of violence spreading to the West Bank and inside Israel.
    There have been consistent calls to launch a wide-scale military operation in Gaza over the past two years, but such a move must come with clear objectives, and those are not on the horizon at present.
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    יחיא סינוואר
    יחיא סינוואר
    Yahya Sinwar
    (Photo: AP)
    The cabinet is considering its policy to allow Gazans to work in Israel, while Hamas continues to incite violence. Thus, more stringent selections of who can be allowed to enter and earn a better living should be in place.
    These decisions must be made by a government that itself is on the verge of demise, trying to navigate between the demands of its members on the Right and on the Left.
    Leaders of the coalition - Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid - nonetheless, are conveying business as usual. We'll check back in next week to see how they they have faired.
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