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On Iran, Bibi Will Not Take 'Yes'For an Answer

Prime Minister Netanyahu's impatient attitude towards recent diplomatic moves with Iran raises fears that he is not willing to take "yes" for an answer regarding a settlement on the Iranian nuclear program, writes Akiva Eldar, Senior Analyst at Ha’aretz. It's time for Israel to renounce its own nuclear ambiguity policy and start making some progress.  
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an annual meeting with journalists in Tel Aviv November 29, 2010, marking the U.N. vote on November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948. Netanyahu said on Monday leaked U.S. diplomatic cables had exposed widespread Arab fear of Iran's nuclear programme and vindicated his priorities in peacemaking. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS)

The  disapproval voiced by PM Benjamin Netanyahu over the recent diplomatic move vis-à-vis Iran shows that the Israeli leader has crossed the thin line separating constructive warning from destructive denunciation. His impatient attitude raises fears that, under no terms whatsoever, would he be willing to take "yes" for an answer regarding a settlement on the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu is thus exposing the Israeli position on Iran to the danger of rendering the evidence cited by Israel and its arguments incredible in the eyes of the West. Furthermore, his approach could give rise to suspicions that Israel is interested in perpetuating the problem of the Iranian compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty since it is justifying its own refusal to sign the treaty. (The disreputable club of NPT recalcitrant states comprises, besides Israel, only North Korea, Pakistan and India.) Israel's insistence on keeping the Iranian issue on top of the international agenda may also be interpreted as a transparent ploy, aimed at removing from that same agenda the issue of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and the stalemate in the political process with the Palestinians.

It seems, however, that Netanyahu fails to take into account the highly likely possibility that the siren he is sounding will alert the international community to the danger of the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Indeed, in recent months, there have been increasing calls in the United States and Europe for the disarmament of the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction. And a conference is to be convened in Helsinki shortly following the United States presidential elections to promote the initiative for the establishment of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free-zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East.

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