Israeli government poses ten unanswered questions over understanding reached between P5+1 and Iran


The Israeli government released a document on Monday that presented ten unanswered questions over the latest understanding reached between the P5+1 and Iran. Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz also met with reporters and issued a series of changes that Israel believes should be made to any final agreement reached with Iran over its nuclear program. The deadline for a final agreement is set for June 30.

The ten questions posed in the document, distributed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, emphasized “how dangerous the framework is for Israel, the region and the world.” Some of the questions asked by Israel are:  Given Iran’s track record of concealing illicit nuclear activities, why can’t inspectors conduct inspections anywhere, anytime? Why is the lifting of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in about a decade not linked to a change in its behavior? Why will Iran be allowed to continue R&D on centrifuges far more advanced than those currently in its possession? Why doesn’t the framework deal with Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear payloads?

In his press conference, Steinitz urged the P5+1 to prohibit Iran from any further R&D on advanced centrifuges, to reduce the number of Iran’s centrifuges in the event that it chooses to pursue nuclear weapons and disregard its obligations under the current agreement, and to force Iran to disclose all of its past work on the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of its program. According to The New York Times, Steinitz said that “the suggestion that there was no alternative to the framework agreed in Lausanne, or that Israel had not put forward an alternative, ‘is wrong.’” The Strategic Affairs Minister also told reporters that the alternative was “to increase pressure on Iran and stand firm and make Iran make serious concessions and have a much better deal.”

On NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, the Israeli Prime Minister declared, "This is not a partisan issue. This is not solely an Israeli issue. This is a world issue because everyone is going to be threatened by the pre-eminent terrorist state of our time, keeping the infrastructure to produce not one nuclear bomb but many, many nuclear bombs down the line." Last week, following the announcement of the understanding, there was widespread concern in Israel over the outline for the prospective final agreement. Netanyahu said, “Such a deal does not block Iran's path to the bomb. Such a deal paves Iran's path to the bomb." Netanyahu’s spokesperson Mark Regev said that the understanding reached “is a step in a very, very dangerous direction.” On Friday, the Israeli security cabinet announced that it was unanimously opposed to the outline reached.


Prominent Israeli politicians across the spectrum have questioned the understandings reached last week by the P5+1 nations and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni the leaders of the Zionist Union, the bloc likely to lead the opposition in the new Knesset, released a statement saying:

“We need to work closely with the powers, and in particular with the United States, over the coming days in order to roll back Iran’s nuclear program and prevent it from getting nuclear weapons.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Zionist Union’s faction chairman was more explicit in his criticism of the deal expressed on his Facebook page:

“I refuse to join those applauding the agreement with Iran, because the truth is it keeps me awake at night,” Cabel wrote. “President Obama promises that if the Iranians cheat, the world will know, but isn’t that exactly what the Americans promised after the agreement with North Korea?” He said that when it comes to Iran, there is no Left or Right or coalition or opposition in Israel, only Israelis.

“When a crazy religious regime with a proven track record of terrorism and cheating receives permission to get that close to a nuclear bomb, I am very worried,” Cabel wrote, and then adding more criticism of Obama. “The fact that the man who is in charge of making sure the deal won’t be broken has a proven record of mocking his own redlines, makes me even more worried.”

Cabel also called Prime Minister Netanyahu’s efforts to highlight the dangers of the deal being discussed as a “correct struggle.”

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Since 1987, Israeli adults with visual disabilities have been enjoying lawn bowls – an outdoor sport played with a one-kilo ball aimed toward a target – as part of the all-volunteer Israel Lawn Bowls Association for the Blind. “Among sports for the blind, lawn bowls has the largest number of participants in Israel,” says Sarah Shapiro, a retired immunology researcher from Haifa who has managed the Israel Lawn Bowls Association national team since 2003 and just completed a six-year term as president of the Israel Association for the Blind. Paired with sighted coaches, about 50 players meet on Sundays at lawn bowls clubs in Haifa, Ra’anana, Ramat Gan and Kiryat Ono. Thanks to the league’s affiliation with the International Blind Bowls Association and the International Bowls for the Disabled, serious contenders compete overseas with the support of donors including Toto-The Israel Sports Betting Board and the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Despite their relatively small contingent, the Israelis always do well in competition. Most recently, Israeli blind lawn bowlers earned five medals at the 2015 International Bowls for the Disabled’s international competition in New Zealand. (via Israel21c)

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