In between bouts of angrily shaking his fists at the sky about the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared today that he doesn’t believe his country is bound by the deal in the slightest, and remains free to attack Iran at any moment.
Netanyahu has been insisting a nuclear deal with Iran would mean the destruction of Israel throughout the talks, empty rhetoric during the long period when no one expected the talks to actually lead to any sort of deal. With a deal now not only possible but agreed to, Netanyahu is struggling to get his rhetoric on track.
Israel wasn’t involved in the nuclear deal, and has no obligations under it, so saying they are not bound by it is effectively meaningless. The threats to attack Iran are nothing new, but feel even emptier in the wake of the deal, as it would fuel an enormous international backlash against Israel, even if US hawks are okay with the idea.
Netanyahu’s real problem is that he’s been so alarmist against the deal for so long, and insisted he would never allow it to be signed, that the fact that it finally happened has the rest of the Israeli far-right portraying him as a failure, and Netanyahu’s claims the deal is an historic disaster has put that disaster in his lap.
In the near term, Israel’s strategy is expected to be intense lobbying against the deal in the US Congress. Ultimately, this is likely to continue for as long as it takes them and the State Department to come to terms on a multi-billion dollar arms deal to shut them up.