Prime Minister Netanyahu’s video message to the people of Iran was a welcome step. Speaking Saturday to those who, as he noted, would presumably be watching the YouTube video on a virtual private network to sidestep government censors, Netanyahu did well to show respect to the proud history and rich culture of the Iranian people. He expressed an eloquent yearning for the day when Israelis and Iranians would once again be able to visit each other freely in Tehran and Esfahan, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Altogether, it was a good idea to initiate some kind of direct communication with the people of Iran.
And, whatever one may think of Netanyahu, this message (scroll down to watch it) is infinitely better than anything we in Israel have received from any Iranian politician or leader since 1979.
Such a positive message is likely to resonate with some segments of the Iranian population, but only so long as Netanyahu does not try to roll back the Iran nuclear deal, as he told 60 Minutes program he would advise President Trump to do.
Considering the fact that Iran has adhered to the terms of the agreement, if the message Netanyahu said he would give Trump succeeds and the nuclear deal is annulled, re-imposition of sanctions against the people of Iran will render his gesture of friendship meaningless, and it will soon be forgotten.
Keep in mind that Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission has endorsed the Iran deal. This is in addition to a recent Israeli intelligence assessment that advises against pushing Trump to undo the Iran deal. While we’re at it, we can add two former Israeli army Military Intelligence commanders (Yadlin and Farkash) to this list as well.
Lets see how Netanyahu’s upcoming trip to the US goes and whether he succeeds where he failed with Obama. Or whether the recent corruption scandals dismantle Netanyahu’s career before he gets to dismantle the Iran deal.
And whatever happens, whether in Washington or in Jerusalem, Netanyahu can’t escape Iran. After all, the commander of the National Fraud Investigations Unit, in charge of his current investigation, is a former Paratroop commander who joined the Israeli police in 1996 with the very Persian name of Koresh Barnour.
Here’s the message: “Our two peoples can work together for a more peaceful and hopeful future for both of us.”