Photo: Reuters
Isaac Herzog
Photo: Reuters

Israeli opposition fleshes out Iran policy, demanding US support for Israeli strike

Zionist Union says only support by US will ensure Israel's security, says key to 'good deal' with Iran is gradual reduction of sanctions coupled with amendments to current deal.

Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni laid out their Iranian policy on Sunday and called for a "comprehensive, intimate and in-depth strategic discussion with the US" on nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, saying all issues on the table must be clarified with Washington before a final agreement is signed with Tehran.



In a position paper released Sunday, the Zionist Union's leaders demand the United States to "give legitimization ahead of time to any action Israel will need to take to protect its safety".

Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni at Ynet's studio (Photo: Avi Chai)
Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni at Ynet's studio (Photo: Avi Chai)


The party, which came in second in Israel's elections, is expected to head the opposition in the next government. Thus the document, published exclusively by Ynet, can be said to be the first clear articulation of an Israeli alternative to the deal reached with Iran.


As of now, only Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken out against the deal – and he has been repeatedly criticized for failing to presenting an alternative to the deal, most recently by US President Obama, who said Netanyahu failed to offer a plan of his own.


The crux of Herzog and Livni's plan is a call on the American administration to commit in advance to approve an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities if Iran violates the framework agreement signed a week and a half ago by trying to produce nuclear weapons.


Infographic: AP
Infographic: AP


The document was split into three sections: In the first section, the Zionist Union criticizes Israel's current official position, which takes serious issue with the framework agreement reached between world powers reached and Iran, but fails to articulate improvements.


Their own position paper, they claim, constitutes a practical and detailed proposal to what is considered a "good deal".


"Incessant criticism without constructive suggestions could leave us at a loss," Herzog told Ynet. "To prevent that we must have a brave and comprehensive dialogue with the US, down to the last detail," he said.


The second part of the position paper presents suggestions on how to "close the loopholes" in the framework agreement and improve upon its different sections. The proposed improvements mostly focus on the conditions and limitations on easing the sanctions on Iran.


The Zionist Union demands that "the removal of sanctions will only be done gradually in a predefined framework coinciding with the Iranian deal," the document said demanding that should Iran fail to make good on its part of the deal sanctions will be automatically reinstated in full force.


The document also calls for enhanced oversight capabilities for the UN nuclear watchdog – the IAEA – including access to officials, documents and sites in which alleged Iranian nuclear activity is taking place.


The third part of the document focuses on rehabilitating US-Israel ties, and improviing coordination over Iran while the deal is being implemented.


According to the opposition leaders, "Israel must change its regional strategy… and work to strengthen ties with the moderate forces in the region," a move they say will curb not only Iran's nuclear program, but its destabilizing activates in the area through local proxies.


"We must act quickly to change the final deal, and raise the price of its infringement," Herzog said, indicating the deal itself was not the true problem, but the aforementioned 'loopholes'. He said that only a "painful" cost to Iran in the case of a breach in the agreement would safeguard Israel's security.


The position paper was released after party members received requests to issue the Zionist Union's official position on the framework agreement.


In order to present the party's position, Herzog consulted senior officials and diplomats from the US and Europe, some of whom he said were actively involved in the negotiations with Iran while others followed the talks closely.


Herzog also consulted with Livni and with senior officials in Israel, including officials from the defense apparatus and those who play a part in shaping Jerusalem's policies.


The Zionist Union's "security team" also took part in consultations, including Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin (former head of Military Intelligence), Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven, Col. (res.) Omer Bar-Lev and others, the party said.


פרסום ראשון: 04.12.15, 18:11
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