The handshake that launched a thousand planes?
This is the picture released today by the Israeli Government Press Office after the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama.
From looking at the picture, and from reading the remarks, it seems to me that the two men have not come to an agreement that whittles down the grey area between the two countries’ red lines on Iran. Obama went through his main talking points clearly: there is still time for a diplomatic solution, and for sanctions. The military option remains firmly on the table; and that Israel should trust him that when it comes to Israel’s security, “America has Israel’s back,” he says.
Netanyahu’s main point is that Israel reserves the right to act as it sees fit to remove any existential threat. It is the master of its own fate, Bibi says.
Obama wants Netanyahu to wait, and Netanyahu wants Obama to act now, or at least not get in Israel’s way.
No common ground on this main issue.
The picture shows a strong handshake, with both men pursing their lips, both men coming from a strong position. They’re both completely convinced of their position. Both men look determined, and entrenched.
And so if that is the case, my assessment is that Netanyahu will not let Israel’s window of opportunity for an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities close. He will not take the leap of faith that Obama has asked him to take. The essence of Netanyahu’s message is that “you cannot ask us to put our fate into your hands. The whole point of the Jewish state is that we don’t ever have to do this.”
Which means, I presume, that Netanyahu will order a strike on Iran this year.
Here’s a link to the remarks made by both leaders.
Here’s a link to my analysis on Obama’s AIPAC speech: Don’t worry America, Israel is behind you.
And a link to a satire piece on the Israeli, American relationship over Iran called Love in the time of uranium.