11 August '15..
When asked repeatedly by Republicans about Iran’s repeated threats to destroy Israel during Congressional testimony about the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry sighed and looked at his questioners the way an exasperated teacher regards dumb students. Yes, he admitted, they say that but he explained patiently, he’s seen no evidence of them planning anything to put that into effect. Kerry repeated that answer, though no doubt without the look of disdain on his face, to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg saying “I haven’t seen anything that says to me” that their “ideological confrontation with Israel at this moment” [my emphasis] will “translate into active steps.” For all intents and purposes, President Obama says the same thing when he dismisses threats to Israel from Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei even if he just published a book outlining his plans. But, as Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency made public today, Iran is taking active steps toward war with Israel. The Israelis revealed that information obtained from a prisoner as well as from other sources showed that Iran is taking an active role in allowing Hamas to rebuild its military infrastructure as well as terror tunnels aimed at facilitating murder and kidnapping. Though the administration pretends that its negotiations with Iran are proof that the Islamist regime is moderating, evidence on the ground shows that its role as the world’s leading state sponsor of terror is unchanged. So, too, is its role in aiding the ongoing war on Israel’s existence.
As Haaretz reports:
During his interrogation, [Hamas operative Ibrahim] Sha’er also told of the links between Iran and Hamas, under which Iran has transferred military support into the Gaza Strip to strengthen the organization. The Iranians provide funds, advanced weaponry and electronic equipment such as equipment for disrupting radio communications to bring down Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles over Gaza, Sha’er told the Shin Bet. Iran has also trained Gaza fighters in the use of hang gliders for the purpose of penetrating into Israel, he said.
Perhaps to Obama and Kerry, these efforts should be considered minor annoyances to Israel. After all, what possible impact can terror attacks or giving Hamas the ability to wage and sustain a new war against Israel have to do with Israel’s existence? The Israeli military is strong and presumably is capable of dealing with anything that Hamas can come up with. Perhaps, the same is true of Hezbollah, which even Kerry admitted to Goldberg, had 80,000 rockets pointed at Israel.
The point is that Iran using its wealth and military know-how to build up Hezbollah (which operates as an Iranian surrogate, even sending its fighters into Syria to bolster Iran’s ally Bashar Assad) and now Hamas isn’t a mere detail to be swept under the rug. Nor is it tangential to the main thrust of Iranian foreign policy, as Khamenei’s new book makes plain.
Moreover, despite the administration’s blind faith in a shift in Iran’s policies once the nuclear deal is put into effect, there’s no evidence that the flood of cash into Tehran’s coffers will do anything but encourage it to continue its efforts to have its terrorist auxiliaries wage war on Israel.
To the contrary, once the deal sneaks through Congress and Obama begins the process of suspending sanctions by executive order and the Europeans begin a Tehran gold rush, the incentive to regard violations of any of the understandings as too minor to provoke a break will be too great. Kerry may speak of snapping back sanctions, but it’s clear the will to do so on the part of the West will be lacking.
That means that not only will Iran spend the next decade preparing for building its own bomb. It will also spend that time employing its wealth in its struggle for regional hegemony, a key part of which is its surrogate war on Israel. Once the deal expires, Hamas and Hezbollah won’t just be increasingly annoying Israel with deadly terror funded by Iran. They’ll then have a nuclear umbrella. At best, Israel — and moderate Arab states — will live under a terrible threat. The worst-case scenario is too awful to contemplate.
That means that contrary to Kerry’s belief about Iran having no plans in place to eliminate Israel, the entire process that will unfold from the deal is part and parcel of just such a plan. The only difference is that unlike past efforts, what will follow will happen while it has become America’s diplomatic and business partner. That is more than enough reason for anyone who cares about U.S. security, its interests in the Middle East and Israel’s survival, to rethink the deal.