Rather than leading to war with Iran, Israel’s new national unity government may have to explain why an attack is no longer an option.
By Chemi Shalev | May.21, 2012 | 12:14 PM | Haaretz News

The chances that Israel would endorse an agreement with Iran are slim: Iran will never accept Israel’s all-or-nothing conditions nor will it accede to Israel’s stringent demands for verification. If an agreement is reached between the P5+1 forum with Iran, it will almost by definition be one that Israel is suspicious of. One way or another, any agreement, even a temporary or limited one, would preclude, at least for the time being, any possibility of an Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. Even if Israel is deeply dissatisfied with the provisions of an agreement with Tehran, it seems almost unthinkable that it would flout an international consensus and launch an attack that would turn the entire world against it. From this point of view, perhaps the establishment of a broad-based national unity government will serve a purpose that is the exact opposite to the one envisioned for it by several American commentators: rather than giving political backing to an Israeli attack, it will provide cover for an Israeli government that tells the country that such an option no longer exists.

Israel’s leadership, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will then have to decide on its public reaction. The Republican leaders, needless to say, will be waiting to take their lead from the Israeli prime minister before launching their pre-planned onslaught against Obama “the appeaser” who is once again “throwing Israel under the bus”, as Mitt Romney often says, in order to “kowtow to his Muslim masters”, as the President’s morefanatic detractors believe. On the other side of the political divide, the suspicion and distrust that is a permanent feature of the relations between the White House in Washington and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem may cast even the most legitimate Israeli protest criticism as an attempt to intervene in the American elections on behalf of Netanyahu’s conservative allies.