Opinion: With no real strategy on Iran, save for antagonizing the U.S. administration, a misconception of the Palestinian issue and a disregard of the importance of the relationship with Jordan, the leadership is failing the people
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-(Photo: AP)
The State of Israel is a worrying situation and in urgent need of true leadership and well-formulated strategies to deal with the numerous challenges it is now facing.
Without them, there will be severe damage to the country both in the short and long term.
The state and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are justified in their pride at providing coronavirus vaccines to the population, thereby allowing the country to return to normal.
But it is clear that Netanyahu is not the right man to formulate the right strategy for Israel, with his failing leadership making things worse in many critical areas.
The overt and covert action taken by Israel against the current Iranian regime, which is perceived as the greatest threat to national security, were timely and well executed.
Yet the decision to clash with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration over its plan to return to the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement is a dangerous mistake.
Iran’s military program to produce a nuclear weapon was frozen after the agreement was signed in 2015 and the IDF and Israeli intelligence agencies were able to concentrate their efforts on thwarting Iranian entrenchment in both Syria and Lebanon.
But after then-U.S. president Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018, Iran resumed its military program, advancing it to the point of being only a few months away from producing a bomb once Tehran gave the go-ahead.
Biden is determined to renew the 2015 deal and Netanyahu said publicly that Israel would not consider itself bound in any way by it.
This is a contentious stand for the prime minister to take so soon after Biden was sworn in. There is no possible military action that Israel can take against Iran’s nuclear facilities without the assistance and even active participation of the United States.
Netanyahu this week dispatched emissaries to Washington to present Israel’s objections to the various branches of government, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has stated that the Israeli delegations would have little impact on U.S. policy decisions.
Only direct talks between the Israeli prime minister and the American president could result in any policy shift, and that is not scheduled to happen any time soon.
With its combative stance, Israel’s apparent isolation could bolster Iranian demands during the negotiations in Vienna aimed at a return to full compliance with the agreement.
This is an unprecedented failure by Israel. It is unclear there have been any high-level discussions on the issue in Jerusalem, since the security cabinet – and in fact the entire government – has been unable to carry out its duties since before the March 23 elections.
This is an unacceptable state of affairs and must be dealt with urgently.
Another notion promoted by the prime minister, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be resolved without addressing Palestinian demands, is revealing itself to be pure fantasy.
It is also uncertain that ongoing security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the face of growing animosity between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The Hamas terror group that rules Gaza is unrelenting in its efforts to increase its might on the West Bank and it too must be stopped at all cost.
But yet again Israel appears to have no clear strategic plan. And with no dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and no economic or political advances for the Palestinian people, the PA will continue to be weakened and violence will likely break out.
The recent rocket fire from Gaza at Israeli communities in the south and police clashes with young Palestinians in Jerusalem are further proof that the government is out of strategies.
While police in the capital are well equipped to deal with the violent outbreaks of recent days, it is evident there is a lack of leadership to would take a broader view of the events.
Israel is also failing to deal with the growing tensions with Jordan. The 1994 peace agreement between the two countries provided Jerusalem with security along the Israeli-Jordanian border and billions of shekels in revenue.
But the relations with Amman today are reduced to mere security arrangements as all other aspects of the peace agreement are neglected.
The lack of trust and personal animosity between Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah are harmful to these extremely important bilateral relations.
Domestically, Israel is also suffering from the lack of a functioning government and policies.
There is no investment of resources or plans to deal with critical matters such as healthcare, the economy, transportation and education – which are all suffering from a dearth of funds and programs for improvement.
Israeli citizens can only look on in dismay at Netanyahu’s chaotic governance.
Important governmental positions remain unmanned and long-term policy planning is nonexistent.
One can only hope that these failures can be reversed and sooner rather than later.