Itongadol.- The US Congress will not be able to stop a nuclear deal with Iran from being signed, according to recent assessments by sources in Israel\’s Foreign Ministry, the intelligence community and AIPAC, who now believe it might be time to shift gears.
Israeli sources: Israel willing to accept Iran deal for US compensation
Sources in Jerusalem have now realized that instead of continuing to fight a lost cause, Israel has another route that could help secure its interests – namely, asking the US for compensation in the form of expensive weapons or other favors.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could either continue to fight the deal or he could swallow the deal, asking in return far-reaching benefits from the US, the sources said.
A high-ranking government official told Ynet\’s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth that "The White House is willing to pay a hefty price to get some quiet from the Israelis at this point. We are surprised the demand has not been made."
A week ago, the Senate voted in favor of a bill that would allow Congress to review any nuclear deal President Barack Obama intends to sign with Iran. According to the legislation, Congress would have 30 days to review the deal and pass a motion of disapproval.
The bill is considered only in principle, and even Obama chose not to oppose it. The bill\’s opponents were unsuccessful in passing an amendment requiring any agreement to be submitted to the Senate as a treaty. Under the constitution, that would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate.
One of the most pivotal and vocal senators working against the Iran nuclear deal was former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez.
The bill\’s opponents, including those in the Israeli Prime Minister\’s Office, had hoped that Menendez would be able to stop the bill from passing, mainly because he was a key Democrat willing to speak out against the White House, but a recent corruption investigation opened against Menendez by the US Justice Department caused those hopes to diminish.
In light of the investigation, Menendez announced on April 1 that he was suspending himself from the Foreign Relations Committee. "With his departure from the scene, at least at this time, the most important engine working against the signing of the deal has disappeared," said a Senate staffer.
A journalist who regularly covers the White House said that over the past two weeks, there has been a sudden change in tone with regards to Netanyahu.
"It is not because all of a sudden they love the prime minister of Israel there," he said. "But rather because, in their eyes, everything must be done to get the deal with Iran approved, if and when the remaining details that were left out of the outline signed in Switzerland are agreed upon."
According to the sources, the White House is willing to seriously consider substantial compensation to Israel so long as it does not provoke strong protest against the agreement until the deal is signed in July.
According to these sources, at a meeting between the Pentagon and State Department, various possibilities that could meet Israeli demands were discussed – with the most reasonable option thought to be an increase in the amount of F-35 fighter jets given to Israel.
The US would be willing to consider a "serious subsidy" of some of the additional jets whose acquisition has been stalled. Another option is the production of additional Iron Dome batteries – paid for the by the US.
Israeli sources say they believe the US would be willing to pay a high price for Israel\’s silence, but is in no hurry to make any demands.
"If we come with demands at this point, it would mean that we have given up our objections to the deal, and now it is just a matter of at what price," said an Israeli source.
"If Israel believes that the deal is a bad one for its security, it cannot appear as someone who gave up in the end," said the source.