Meir Javedanfar

Bibi’s new settlement homes are helping Iran

The plans for 3,000 new units could create a diplomatic distraction from Iranian nuclear aspirations

The Iranian regime was hoping that the recent Gaza conflict between Israel and Gaza based militants would create a diplomatic crisis for Israel.

Unfortunately for the regime, this did not happen.

Ayatollah Khamenei must have been very disappointed to see that his regime’s military support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups did not lead to an Israeli military response which created a diplomatic crisis in Israel-EU and Israel-US relations.

What Iran could not achieve in Gaza, Netanyahu achieved for the Iranian regime with his latest plans for new settlement homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank: diplomatic crisis in relations between top EU countries and Israel. As Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz: “Europe threatens to withdraw support for Israel over settlement building plans.” According to the article the top 3 EU economic powerhouses Germany, UK, and France are protesting, so are the Dutch. More countries could follow.

What’s particularly great for Iran is that all of the aforementioned countries have been staunch supporters of Israel’s position against Iran. Now Tehran sees that instead of thanking them, Netanyahu is infuriating them for the sake of 3,000 homes.

Obama could also react. It may be not be as immediate as some of the EU countries, but he could be forced to send a strong message to Netanyahu that similar future acts will not be tolerated. Netanyhau already challenged him by backing his rival Mitt Romney prior to the recent US presidential elections. Challenging Obama publicly again after his reelection bid could carry a much heavier price for Netanyahu and his new coalition partner Avigdor Liberman.

The Iranian regime can not wipe Israel off the map because Israel is far too powerful. But what it would like to see is an Israel that is isolated regionally and internationally. Khamenei would love to see Israel’s relations with the EU and US in crisis. His regime is too regionally and internationally weak to do this, so the government in Israel should not inadvertently do the job for him. If Netanyahu is really interested in keeping world focus on Iran, then he must not help Iran by diverting attention from its nuclear program, by creating a diplomatic crisis for the sake of 3,000 homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

About the Author
Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian-Israeli lecturer, author, and commentator. He has been teaching Iranian politics at Reichman University in Israel since 2012 and is Anti-Defamation League’s Iran consultant.