Why Israel Resists Peace With Iran

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 30 2013 @ 12:02pm

Daniel Levy explains Netanyahu’s thinking:

If Iran is willing to cut a deal that effectively provides a guarantee against a weaponization of its nuclear program, and that deal is acceptable to the president of the United States of America, why would Netanyahu not take yes for an answer?

The reason lies in Netanyahu’s broader view of Israel’s place in the region: The Israeli premier simply does not want an Islamic Republic of Iran that is a relatively independent and powerful actor. Israel has gotten used to a degree of regional hegemony and freedom of action — notably military action — that is almost unparalleled globally, especially for what is, after all, a rather small power. Israelis are understandably reluctant to give up any of that.

Israel’s leadership seeks to maintain the convenient reality of a neighboring region populated by only two types of regimes. The first type is regimes with a degree of dependence on the United States, which necessitates severe limitations on challenging Israel (including diplomatically). The second type is regimes that are considered beyond the pale by the United States and as many other global actors as possible, and therefore unable to do serious damage to Israeli interests.

Israel’s leadership would consider the emergence of a third type of regional actor — one that is not overly deferential to Washington but also is not boycotted, and that even boasts a degree of economic, political, and military weight — a deeply undesirable development.