Netanyahu the Rejectionist Should be Ignored

Benyamin Netanyahu’s hyperventilated fury didn’t surprise anybody. Even before the first outlines of a possible long-term agreement between Iran and the West on Iran’s nuclear program were publicized, Israel’s Prime Minister categorically rejected any such agreement. This irrational behavior disqualifies him as a serious partner to other heads of states. His extremism goes even as far as to promote further sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu wants Iran to capitulate and abolish its entire nuclear industry. He announced that Israel does not feel bound by the agreement. Netanyahu arrogates Israel a right to override decisions by UN Security Council members.

That Western leaders should consult the leader of a tiny country before they act shows the imaginary power they attribute to Netanyahu. To seek advice from Netanyahu shows how intimidated Western politicians are. By now, they should be aware of his hostility to peace, be it with Iran or the Palestinians. How submissively the United States act is shown by the phone call between Obama and Netanyahu and by Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to Jerusalem, as if they needed Netanyahu’s blessing for the negotiations with Iran. The best political strategy would be to ignore him.

What infuriated Netanyahu and made him go wild was John Kerry’s statement made in Bethlehem: “We consider now and have always considered the settlements to be illegitimate.” The U. S. has finally returned to its erstwhile stance that all Israeli settlements are contrary to international law, after they had gone astray under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  Netanyahu appears increasingly isolated with regard to the Iran deal. He appears willing to do anything to derail a possible agreement between the US and Iran. His last weapons are the political bull terriers of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC, and their supporters in the US Congress. But Netanyahu is increasingly a political nuisance, not only for the Obama administration but also for other powers.  For the last 25 years it has been his mantra to warn that a nuclear Iran is just around the corner.

Netanyahu and the war party in the U. S. will do everything in their power to prevent an agreement between Iran and the West. Netanyahu exerts not only great influence on the U. S. Congress via AIPAC, but does so personally, as his last speech before both Houses in May 2012 has shown, during which U.S. lawmakers outdid themselves in celebrating his reactionary speech. AIPAC could try to arrange again another such ridiculous circus. That doesn’t mean that Netanyahu would make it this time, knowing that he would jeopardize the recently improved relations with the Obama administration.

The political charade, which Netanyahu performs, has nothing to do with the imaginary Iranian nuclear threat. The Israeli political establishment knows this and fears that it would lose its hegemony over the entire Middle East and Northern Africa if Iran would go nuclear. The late Israel Shahak has pointed out in his book “Open Secrets. Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies”, that Israel’s main goal is to maintain its hegemony from India to Mauritania.

The political interests of the Western powers and Israel are not the same. The West has suffered heavy economic losses by bowing to Israeli interests; especially U. S. solders had to pay a high price in Iraq. Netanyahu can perhaps bamboozle the U.S. government again, but Israel’s relationship with Europe is on a downward slide. Europe, and especially Germany, can look back on an enduring friendship with Iran. This friendship should not be damaged by unregenerate politicians. Germany would do well to normalize its relations and reestablish its traditionally excellent relations with Iran, regardless of the outcome of the U.S-Iran negotiations.

By now, the U. S. and the other Western countries, should have understood that Netanyahu as well as former Israeli governments have been torpedoing every chance for a peace agreement with the Palestinians, because their colonial hunger for land has not yet been satisfied. The so-called peace negotiations, which are once again taking place, is likely to go nowhere because the Netanyahu government is not willing to make any real concessions that fall short of total surrender by the Palestinians.

Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog “Between the lines.” He can be reached at: www.watzal.com. Read other articles by Ludwig.