Tonight, Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called for an ultimatum with clears dates to be issued to Iran.
Until today I have not heard of anyone in the Israeli government, especially someone as close to Netanyahu as Steinitz to call for the western world to give clear deadlines with dates to Iran. Steinitz was so adamant that he was almost shouting this point across during his interview with Israel’s Channel 2.
It is completely unrealistic to expect the international community, especially the United States to tell the Iranians (for example) “if you don’t allow full access to all the suspected sites by December 15, then military action will be taken against you”.
This is just not going to happen.
As much as there is consensus against Iran’s nuclear program, no one in the west especially in the US is anywhere near doing this. Not Obama, nor Romney.
So whats behind this radical shift in rhetoric?
One reason could be because those close to Netanyahu (such as Steinitz) feel emboldened ( as foreseen in one of my recent articles) by reports that Obama could be about to declare “what might bring about American military action”. They see Obama’s expected declaration as proof that threats against Iran by the Israeli government bring results, therefore they should be continued.
Another reason could be related to a report in Haaretz today that Ehud Barak no longer supports an attack against Iran.
In the same interview Finance Minister Steinitz launched a public attack against Ehud Barak and said that Barak has stung two prime ministers before, and he could now sting Netanyahu. When asked how he could sting Netanyahu, Steinitz brought up the vote for the upcoming budget which the government is trying to pass through the Knesset.
This is one possibility.
Another possibility is that Steinitz is fuming that Barak no longer supports an attack against Iran. Therefore the best way to push Barak out even more could be to take an even more radical line with regards to how the Iranian nuclear program should be handled by the Israeli government.
According to the same report, fuel prices in Israel are the third highest in the world. Someone should ask the Finance Minister whether his plan to give deadlines to Iran could make Israel world champion, in fuel prices.