by Dr. Aviel Sheyin-Stevens
Israeli voters must understand that Israel’s prolonged political instability endangers its most strategic interests and squanders its greatest strategic opportunities in a unique period when Trump is in the White House and has rapport with Netanyahu.
When the ayatollahs violently conquered Iran as the first stage in their ultimate goal of dominating the world in the name of Islam, they made their Mideast policy abundantly clear: Death to Israel. They later made the policy easier to perceive: Wipe Israel off the Map!
Israel aims to downgrade Iran’s allies and proxies such as Syria and Hezbollah, and has been in direct confrontation with Iran since early 2018, due to the increasing Iranian involvement in Syria from 2011.
Now that Binyamin Gantz of the Blue and White party has been charged to form a coalition, Israeli voters are missing a unique opportunity to defeat the ayatollahs.
Iran has been providing, financing, training, weapons and safe havens for Hamas in Gaza, and other Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, to effect the ayatollahs’ policy: the destruction of Israel.
The ayatollahs use their dedication to obliterate Israel to justify their regime and instigate revolutions in Islamic countries. Thus, Israel is concerned by the ayatollahs acquiring nuclear weapons.
There was a time when Israel or the United States could have destroyed Iran’s nuclear facilities with little risk of war. But President Barack Obama engaged in years-long negotiations with Iran that allowed Iranian leaders time to multiply, disperse, and fortify their nuclear facilities. The Obama administration’s leakage of Israel’s secret agreement with Azerbaijan, allowing Israeli warplanes to refuel during attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities, sabotaged a planned Israeli attempt to destroy Iranian facilities.
In July 2015, President Obama orchestrated a nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany and the European Union. It guarantees that when it ends in 2025, Iran will be poised to develop nuclear weapons immediately.
Throughout his presidency, Obama’s actions and inactions in the Middle East were not about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but stopping Israel from stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
The agreement was one of Obama’s gross misjudgments about the Middle East, going back to his Senate days, when he vehemently opposed the military “surge” that crushed the terrorist insurgency in Iraq.
Despite the mistakes that were made in Iraq, it was still a viable country until Obama pulled out all the troops, ignoring his own military advisers, just so he could claim to have restored “peace,” when in fact he invited chaos and defeat. He surrendered Iraq, in whose cause so many young Americans died, to America’s enemy, Iran.
Obama reoriented America's Middle East policy in favor of the ayatollahs, in an attempt to make Iran the regional superpower in the Middle East, disfavoring America’s traditional allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Arab monarchies. President Donald Trump renewed America’s alliances with Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, to reduce Iranian power in the region.
In October 2017, President Trump withdrew America from UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body, over its long-standing anti-Israel bias. In May 2018, Trump announced America was withdrawing from The Treaty of Catastrophe; the Iran nuclear deal. Trump also rejected Obama’s anti-Israel legacy. As Trump stated, ‘Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.’
The Trump administration is perhaps the most pro-Israel US administration in history. Against tremendous opposition, Trump made it American policy that the Jewish people are indigenous to the Land of Israel. And against fierce opposition, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and effected the 1995 Act of Congress to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. Under Trump, Israel is once again America’s close ally.
As Prime Minister, Benny Gantz would not have the same rapport as Bibi Netanyahu with President Trump. Gantz’s sympathies lie with the Democrats, that no longer disguise their disdain for Israel.
When the US embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem in May 2018, all Democrats in Congress boycotted the ceremony; including Senator Chuck Schumer, Representative Adam Schiff, and all other Jewish Democrats in Congress.
Just before the April 2019 election, Netanyahu announced plans to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley after the elections. He also stated that President Trump supports the move. No US president before Trump has ever supported Israel in asserting its sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria, without Palestinian permission.
The Trump administration could back Netanyahu in attacking Iran, but is unlikely to back Gantz, whose sympathies lie with the Democrats. US is constrained from conducting a major military attack due to concerns for the 2020 US elections. Moreover, Trump expects US allies to carry most of the load in foreign involvements.
In 2017, the Trump administration began inflicting significant economic sanctions on Iran. And since 2018, Israel has been attacking Iran directly by striking Iranian assets and installations in Syria and Iraq.
The September 2019 Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil processing plant and its oil field indicated that the regional situation is horrendous. According to American and Saudi investigators, evidence found at the sites proved Iran carried out the attacks with drones and cruise missiles originating from a Revolutionary Guards base in southern Iran.
The Iranian strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations provides an opportunity for Israel to carry out a major attack against Iran. The attack could target Iran’s nuclear installations, Revolutionary Guards bases, and other regime targets. The goal would be to degrade Iran’s nuclear weapons program and undermine regime stability. It would safeguard Israel’s regional position and deterrent power for decades, and vastly diminish the strategic threats Israel faces.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman instigated Israel’s political paralysis in November 2018 when he resigned his position as defense minister, and maintained it in 2019 by refusing to join Netanyahu-led coalition. Without Liberman, Netanyahu could not form a governing majority. There is no end in sight for the instability Liberman initiated. If Netanyahu cannot be the Prime Minister, Israel may have to go for another election. The leaders of all the parties that form the basis for Likud-led governing coalitions agreed to conduct coalition talks as a unit, under Netanyahu’s leadership.
Israeli voters must understand that Israel’s prolonged political instability endangers its most strategic interests and squanders its greatest strategic opportunities. This is a unique opportunity like no other: to degrade significantly Iran’s nuclear weapons program and undermine fatally the ayatollahs’ regime. Trump could back Netanyahu to achieve it.
Dr. Aviel Sheyin-Stevens holds Jur.D. and CPA degrees, is a registered patent attorney based in Florida, USA.
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