Netanyahu and Obama at Oval Office 370.
(photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)
WHAT BECAME abundantly clear at this year’s opening session of the UN General
Assembly is that while Israeli and American leaders may share the same strategic
goal – preventing a nuclear Iran – they have very different ideas on how to
achieve it. So much so that rumbling friction between Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama is threatening to put new strains on the
special relationship.For Netanyahu, the modus operandi against Iran
should be heavier sanctions accompanied by a credible threat of force; for
Obama, it is maintaining the current sanctions, accompanied by dialogue on
conditions for lifting them. For Netanyahu, the Iranian offer of dialogue is
merely a ruse to gain time; for Obama, it is an opportunity to make the world a
safer place without the use of force. For Netanyahu, the Iranian and Palestinian
issues are unconnected; for Obama, an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would
facilitate the formation of an American-led coalition of moderate Sunni states
to curb the regional influence of Shi’ite Iran and its allies.