Lapid: No to austerity, yes to bigger deficit
Israel may look isolated over the nuclear deal with Iran, but the cards could yet fall its way.
By now, just about every commentator, academic, pundit, journalist and politician has had his or her say about the "breakthrough agreement" or alternatively, "historic mistake" or "potential cataclysmic disaster", depending on the point of view.
It cannot be all of those things simultaneously. True, it is better than the previous draft torpedoed by the French, but is it good enough? True, it temporarily slows down the process of enriching uranium--but does not reverse it. True, it halts progress on the plutonium facility being built in Tarik--but it doesn't require its dismantlement. True, it provides for daily inspections by the IAEA and sets up (yet another) international commission to supervise the IAEA process--but it doesn't permit unannounced inspections.
In any case, all of the above is only significant if Iran faithfully does what it has promised to do. On the other hand, even if it does, it will have six months to await the collapse of the crippling sanctions (according to the critics) and be able to provide oxygen to its suffocating economy through immediate relief provided by US$7 billion of revisions to the sanctions regime, which will take place before the Iranians have down anything at all.
Or, of course, the immediate relief is simply a teaser, which will help to convince Tehran that it is essential to regime survival to observe the terms and conditions of the deal to the letter.
At any rate, the Munich--sorry--Geneva accord has been endorsed by one and all, even including tepid endorsements by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE (but with a sour statement from Kuwait), with two significant exceptions (Canadians will consider their government's denunciation of the deal as significant also): the US Congress and Israel.
Leaders of both houses of Congress and of both parties have declared that they do not consider themselves bound by the deal, and that shortly after the Thanksgiving recess they will pass legislation actually strengthening the sanctions. Of course, President Obama has said he will veto any such bill put on his desk, and it is questionable whether the sponsors will be able to muster the two-thirds majorities required to override such a veto. Still, such a vote would be a serious setback for Obama and an equally serious warning to the Iranians.
In Israel, all significant political forces, with the exception of the new leadership of the Labor Party, and the great majority of the commentators have condemned the deal. But wait--maybe it's not such a bad thing after all--let's think a bit out of the box, as they say.... if six months go by and no overall final agreement is reached, and if (a big if) in the meantime the remaining sanctions hold, then all options are again on the table and instead of Israel being isolated, Iran would be. Hmmm. .
Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and a researcher at the Center for National Security Studies, University of Haifa.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 26, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013
You comment was recieved and soon will be published.
Thank you for posting your comment, which will be reviewed for publication.
Load more comments
"If we don't invest in education, there won't be any soldiers in the intelligence unit."
You can't have it all, Flug warns
The Governor of the Bank of Israel says higher spending with no tax rise will mean a dangerous deficit level.
Budget deadline looms for Netanyahu
The prime minister must make four key choices to stand a chance of passing the 2015 budget on time.
Lapid and Flug agree on dialogue but not policies
Nevertheless, the Bank of Israel and Finance Ministry are angling for compromise that will include a concession on the VAT exemption.
Cabinet approves 2% across-the-board budget cut
Some ministers objected to cuts in welfare and education but Netanyahu insisted that "defense comes first."
Former BoI Gov opposes budget cuts, 0% VAT
David Klein: The government should set priorities. This isn't a real policy.
No elections please - poll
They may grouch at the result of Operation Protective Edge, but Israeli voters see no reason for an early election.
Treasury chief sees no need for tax hikes
Yael Andorn says the cost of Operation Protective Edge can be absorbed within the fiscal framework.
Netanyahu urged to mediate between Lapid and Flug
The Prime Minister's advisors insist he must address the deepening rift between the Finance Minister and Bank of Israel Governor.
Israel, Germany increase cooperation on tax evasion
The war on unreported capital is part of a global trend being led by the US.
Karnit Flug lends support to raising deficit
But the Bank of Israel is still insisting on a tax hike.
Contractors head: 0% VAT - It's now or never
Nissim Bublil: The prime minister told the cabinet to take care of the housing crisis, but they failed.
Open-ended cease-fire begins
Shortly before the truce began at 7 pm, two Israelis were killed by a mortar shell in the Eshkol region.
Lapid, Flug spar on tax hikes
Minister of Finance: Higher taxes will ruin the chances for growth.
Netanyahu's approval rating sinks - survey
Support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen sharply over the past four days.
Cease-fire talks said to be making progress
Israeli sources say a response is awaited from Khaled Mashal. A salvo of rockets was fired at Israel this morning.
Lapid promises Gaza border settlements NIS 50m aid
The government is shorlty due to present a comprehensive aid plan for the region.
Egypt promoting one-month cease-fire
An announcement is expected this evening, if Hamas agrees.
Heavy rocket, mortar fire continues
There has been heavy rocket and mortar fire at southern Israeli settlements today, and false alarms in the center.
Lightning raids likely next IDF tactic in Gaza
Targeted killings do not appear to have affected Hamas's operational capability.
State to assist evacuation from border settlements
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon promised assistance after days of constant mortar fire from Gaza.
"Jews and Hezbollah's time will come - soon"
"Globes" talked online with a US-born IS fighter, who explained how to sign up.
Gaza needs a Marshall Plan
An estimated $6 billion is needed to restore normal life in the Gaza Strip.
UK preoccupied with Palestinian underdog
Dror Feuer is depressed by the one-sided view of the conflict that he finds in London.
Gaza's cruel war of tunnels
"Every tunnel is a message to the world - the destruction in Gaza is not for nothing."
"Starve Hamas of money"
Israel must use the economic weapon against Hamas, argues Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
Fighting according to the rules
Three experts discuss whether Israel's operation in Gaza is within the international laws of warfare.