"We're coming" to Israel
President Barack Obama will visit Israel later this month, the 20th, even if Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fails to put together a governing coalition beforehand. "We're going," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a briefing for reporters Friday, March 9. In answer to a question, he said, "The formation of the Israeli government is the responsibility of Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior officials of the Israeli government..."
Secretary of state John Kerry thought otherwise when he skipped a visit to Israel as not worthwhile until a government is in place. (Netanyahu’s deadline for forming a government has been extended to March16.)
DEBKAfile reports from its Washington sources that President Obama’s calculations for making the trip are a lot more complicated than Kerry’s. According to some Israeli circles, none of them are good news for their country.
He arrives less than a month after the last Six-Power (US, Russia, UK, France, China and Germany) nuclear discussions with Iran ended in Kazakhstan. After those talks, US and Western media trumpeted “an unusual sense of optimism” or more cautiously allowed “a faint and perhaps fleeting light at the end of one of the world’s most durable tunnels.”
Western sources predicted on the strength of these assessments that the follow-up to Kazakhstan in April, shortly after Obama’s talks in Jerusalem, would be devoted to “cementing that progress,” which translated into rewarding putative nuclear concessions by Iran with the easing of economic sanctions.
However, according to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, this diplomatic fluff, while representing elation in Washington, London, Moscow, Paris and Berlin, caused serious disenchantment in Jerusalem, which viewed it as a smokescreen for concessions to, and not by, Iran.
They have found that the “fleeting light” appearing at the end of the Iranian nuclear tunnel obscures three dangerous US concessions to Tehran:
1. President Obama has given in to the Fordo uranium enrichment plant continuing to operate instead of shutting down, as demanded by Israel – even though its function is to turn out 20 percent pure (near-weapons grade) uranium;
2. He has even consented to the Iranians continuing to manufacture uranium to that level;
3. Washington has dropped its insistence on Iran sending out of the country its stocks of 3.5-5 percent enriched uranium.
With these gains, the Iranian negotiators must have been laughing all the way home from their talks with the six big powers on 26-27 of February and crowing over what one Israeli official called "Tehran’s huge success and Israel’s total defeat.”
Conscious of how these concessions to the Islamic Republic are received in Jerusalem, it is no wonder that President Obama brushed off the invitation to address the Israeli Knesset, where lawmakers would likely put him on the spot. He has chosen instead to deliver a speech at Jerusalem’s Convention Center, so as to deliver his message straight to the Israeli public.
By going over the heads of Israel’s government and parliament to face a less informed audience, he believes he can get away with sweet-talking his surrender to a nuclear Iran.
Former military intelligence chief, Amos Yadlin stepped in with a timely comment last week when he said that an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be no more than a one-night operation.
So when Air Force One lands in Israel March 20 and Israeli dignitaries push forward to greet the US president, a small group of anonymous Air Force pilots will be watching from a distance, waiting for the order to fly out and carry out their mission in a single night.
After Jerusalem, President Obama continues to the Palestinian Authority and then Jordan.