The API has been on the table for more than a decade, but so far, none of the parties have felt enough urgency to put it into a digestible and practical format. What happened last weekend in Geneva may just have changed all that. The Israeli government should take note. Let’s hope they do.
The deal is neither good nor bad. It is an interim deal. As such, it was both predictable and almost unavoidable, and as the idiom/cliche goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The validity and endurance of the deal will be tested through verification, compliance and time.
Officials unanimously agreed that Secretary of State John Kerry had demonstrated unprecedented commitment to seeing talks through. In the words of one American official, “Kerry will get this done or he’ll die trying.”
Israel’s role now is to stand guard and lengthen the timespan between “nuclear capability” and “nuclear threshold,” and “military nuclear program.” This must be done through an ongoing and sincere dialogue with the US, and not by raising an outcry and voicing prophecies of doom about an agreement that is an accomplished fact.
The interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program may or may not represent a breakthrough in the longer and more difficult talks to continue for the next six months. In either case, the United States must address a critical requirement for success: Assuaging the deep fears in Israel and Saudi Arabia that Iran would try to violate any final agreement.
"With almost no connection to the details of the agreement being worked out with Iran and unrelated to the media-government hullabaloo accompanying the talks with Iran, including the real clash with Israel and Saudi Arabia, the 'only superpower in the world' is on the threshold of a significant strategic change regarding its role, its place, its interests, and its geo-political alliances in the Middle East."
"The policy, the path, the style and the foolish quarrels with the Obama administration are no less than irresponsibility that harms the interests at stake. Netanyahu furiously attacks an agreement that does not yet exist, accuses the United States of appeasement, of an historic error and of sacrificing vital Israeli interests—all before knowing the details of the negotiations on the inchoate agreement, which for the time being—only for the time being—has not been achieved."
The dramatic developments at the UN General Assembly have engendered talk in the U.S. and around the world of a U.S.-Iran breakthrough. But the new atmosphere of at least minimal dialogue has created apprehension in Israel and some Arab states that the U.S. needs to alleviate. Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu's media blitz in the U.S. and the reported Saudis' decision not to speak at the UN demonstrate the depths of this worry.
If current United States-sponsored discussions are to succeed, both Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will need to begin an honest conversation with their constituencies about the compromises that will be made on the path to peace. Each leader will have to prepare his own people for the sacrifices to be made and to signal to the other side that he is serious about reaching a negotiated end of conflict agreement.
Iranian President Rohani is no born-again anti-proliferation wonk who will forgo Iran's nuclear aspirations, but Netanyahu is wrong to dismiss negotiations; an explicit U.S. policy aim - as just an Iranian ploy.