Emanuel Shahaf

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the bigger cheater of them all ?

Journalist Uzi Benziman just published a fascinating  juxtaposition in Haaretz (22.11.2013) where he quotes from the speeches and public appearances of PM Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas to point to our considerable capacity for hypocrisy: Just as Prime Minister Netanyahu expounds in speeches and interviews how the Iranian regime systematically deceives the international community, does not act in the least towards shutting down its nuclear program and needs to be continuously pressured to give in, so does Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority who accuses us of similar deceit:  In his appearances in front of the media he relates how Israel has been misleading the Palestinians and the international community for many years. Talking peace while at the same time creating facts on the ground which prevent achieving peace has been an Israeli specialty and, as Abbas claims, only continued increasing International pressure on Israel will make an agreement possible.

Netanyahu continues to claim with some justification that Iran is not breaking up its nuclear program and it is the sanction regime that is in danger of being scaled back. He maintains that the upcoming deal is a dangerous one and that the total dismantling of the military nuclear program in the interest of Israel and the world must be asssured. The Palestinians, for their part, claim that the negotiations over the future of the West Bank do not roll back settlements already built, thus making a final status agreement impossible despite of its importance not only to the Palestinians but to the whole world.
Back to Netanyahu who says that what Iran is required to do is actually very little since it can keep its centrifuges and doesn’t need to dismantle a single one. And the Palestinians say that Israel keeps all the settlements and doesn’t have to dismantle a single one. And Netanyahu says that the Iranians are just pretending that they are willing to roll back their nuclear program but in reality all they want is to gain time, create the impression that they give in to the pressure exerted by the P5+1 countries to reach an intermediate agreement for half a year, get relief from the sanctions regime as a result and use the time to produce fissile material. This is what Netanyahu explained to the President of France on his visit here. And the Palestinians say that Israel is only pretending to negotiate an agreement and in reality wants to gain more time, reduce international pressure that is being exerted and continue to build more settlements. And Netanyahu says that Iran is bluffing and the world is in danger of getting hoodwinked by its lies, it doesn’t want to give up on its nuclear military program and when the world will come to realize what happened, it will be too late.

There are more examples of parallel statements but I think you get the picture by now: Israel is the mirror image of Iran when it comes to ignoring the demands of the international community: What Iran does to the world regarding its nuclear program, Israel does to the world regarding the settlements in the West Bank: It lies and cheats to the best of its ability as long as it can get away with it. Obviously, Israel looks at the settlement enterprise as a project of utmost national importance just as Iran views its nuclear program as such. And, as nations tend to do, both lie and cheat to the best of their ability when their national interests are at stake.  Until the international community decides to put a stop to it to contain collateral damage. Like it just did with Iran. I just hope that our government in Jerusalem remembers that when we put up another settlement or publish another building plan for the West Bank.

About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is Vice Chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chairman of the Israeli-German Society (IDG), Co-Chair of the Federation Movement (, member of the council at and author of "Identity: The Quest for Israel's Future".