Netanyahu is paying a price he didn’t have to pay. A prime minister who deserves credit for internationalizing the Iranian issue and turning it into a section in the top of the list of priorities of the global agenda, is now paying a price for the Israelization of the Iranian issue.
Through unstoppable threats which have lost their credibility, arrogant statements of "if I am not for myself, then who will be for me?", irrelevant comparisons to Czechoslovakia of 1938 and a diplomacy of newspaper and television news broadcast headlines; instead of a quiet, reliable, serious and intimate dialogue with the Obama administration, Netanyahu managed to isolate Israel from the United States and the world over a critical matter which he is right about.
Netanyahu is not alone. He is hinting at an alliance with Saudi Arabia. Yes, Saudi Arabia. The enlightened and democratic kingdom which gave the world al-Qaeda, radical Islam and the 9/11 terror attacks. While the United States is in a process of withdrawing from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel do have one thing in common: Separation anxiety.
An alliance? Against Iran? I wonder how Netanyahu would define the alliance between the Sunni Saudi Arabia and Pakistan against the Shiite Iran, if – in a not so unlikely scenario – Saudi Arabia would purchase a nuclear bomb from Pakistan.
Irresponsibility harming issue itself
This isn't about political maneuvers or spins on Netanyahu's part, but about a real, deep stance with intellectual integrity: Preventing Iran from acquiring a military nuclear ability.
But the policy, the way, the style and the foolish broils with the Obama administration are nothing less than irresponsibility which is harming the issue itself. Netanyahu is furiously blasting an agreement which doesn't exist yet, accusing the United States of appeasement, of a historic error and of sacrificing crucial Israeli interests – and all that before even knowing the details of the negotiations on the agreement taking shape, which in the meantime, only the meantime, has yet to be achieved.
From the moment Hassan Rohani was elected president of Iran, the diplomatic path became the default option and the United States' preferred choice. This stance is consistent with that of Russia, Britain, Germany, China and even France, in spite of the tough stand demonstrated by the French against what seemed as American enthusiasm to finalize a deal as early as this week.
But Netanyahu failed to show restraint twice. The first time, he refused to be impressed by Rohani's election to the Iranian presidency, and the second time, the more significant one, he chose to stand alone against Iran's "charm offensive" at the UN General Assembly in September. Instead of holding his tongue and saying that he had heavy doubts but welcomed any attempt for a diplomatic solution, Netanyahu stood up and shouted that there was a deception here.
He may be right. It may be his job. In any case, there was no political wisdom of "let's wait and see" and recognition in the spirit of the times.
The test of the developing agreement is in the verification, confirmation and ratification of its existence, through supervision and intrusive examinations. Until then, easing the sanctions threatens to bring down the entire sanction regime. That is something Netanyahu could have explained to President Obama in numerous sincere and serious conversations. But he chose to quarrel about the ongoing settlement construction. That's the price, Yitzhar for Bushehr, but the other way around.