On Iran, How Much Light Between the U.S. and Israel?

Differences between Israel and the U.S. over Iran are currently focused on what Defense Minister Ehud Barak has coined the “zone of immunity” of Iran’s nuclear program, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The White House and the U.S. administration in general do not agree with Barak’s use of the term, referring to the circumstances under which Israel would move forward on an Iran attack, and even see it as “too narrow,” the New York Times said.

U.S. officials told the newspaper that, as opposed to Barak, Prime Minister Netanyahu does not use the term “zone of immunity,” at least not in public.

The newspaper reported that one official thought that Netanyahu’s remarks recently that Israeli officials should “shut up” about Iran was a welcome move.

“I think that’s good advice,” one of the American officials told the New York Times.

According to the report, the phone conversation between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu last month was intended to help the U.S. understand Israel’s position regarding an attack on Iran. During the conversation Obama tried to give Netanyahu arguments against a strike on Iran at this time.

U.S. officials said that the feeling in the Obama administration after the conversations was Netanyahu was willing to see whether sanctions and other steps would work, the newspaper said.

American officials said that tensions between Israel and the U.S. have also increased regarding the Palestinians, and particularly regarding the question of the West Bank settlements.

President Obama ordered U.S. government officials not to allow the topic to enter talks with Israel over Iran, and to carry out talks over Iran’s nuclear program “without politics.” Obama will continue to discuss the topic with Netanyahu during his visit to Washington at the beginning of March.

For more, go to haaretz.com

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