Israel, U.S. At Odds on Iran
Week of meetings produces no consensus
In contrast to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meetings in Jerusalem earlier this week with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Special Envoy George Mitchell, his chat yesterday with President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Gen. James Jones, was decidedly low-key and “private,” raising the question of whether more frank words were exchanged. Jones’s mission in Israel was mainly to discuss Iran’s burgeoning nuclear program: “Gates’s and Jones’s separate visits come amid ever rising speculation over whether Israel intends to strike Iranian nuclear facilities,” Haaretz notes. On Monday Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak pointedly refused to take military options for dealing with Iran off the table, and former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, a prominent hawk who advocates such a move, recently professed, “it will be no surprise if Israel strikes by year’s end.” An attack is very likely to be opposed by the Obama administration (as it was by George W. Bush’s). The U.S. and Israel may be talking about this issue at the highest levels, but that is no guarantee that they will end up agreeing.