Netanyahu criticises nuclear deal with Iran

In his speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the West's nuclear deal with Iran will not prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons. Israel's concerns are entirely justified, some commentators write. Others accuse Netanyahu of jeopardising the alliance between the US and Israel with his address.

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Basler Zeitung (CH) /

Lasting damage to Israeli-US relations

With his speech to the US Congress Israel's Prime Minister has done lasting damage to US-Israeli relations, the right-wing conservative Basler Zeitung comments: "Netanyahu travelled to Washington at the invitation of the opposition Republicans. His appearance before Congress wasn't coordinated with Obama. In this way Netanyahu has undermined trust and weakened the alliance with the US that is key for Israel's survival. For decades Israeli-US relations were supported by both the Democrats and the Republicans. They were part of a cross-party, national consensus. Now Netanyahu has dragged them into the tangled mess of inter-party wrangling in the US. This calls into question the US's automatic and unconditional support, on which Israel relies. If it becomes unstable and a plaything of the Democrats and Republicans this will be at least as dangerous for Israel as the prospect of Tehran having a nuclear bomb in the not too distant future."

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Netanyahu's concerns fully justified

The emotions provoked by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress should not divert attention from the real problems, the business paper Hospodářské noviny warns: "The US has yielded to Iran time after time. Two years ago Obama ruled out the option of an Iranian nuclear programme. In truth, however, the programme hasn't been stopped but just slowed down. ... Since Iran rejects international monitoring of the military part of its nuclear programme while at the same time working intensively on a long-range missile, it's not surprising that Israel - and possibly also Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states in the region - are very nervous indeed. ... Certainly, Netanyahu's words of warning to Congress were somewhat infelicitous. However the dangers he sought to evoke are very real."

La Repubblica (IT) /

Congress speech exploited for election campaign

The Israeli prime minister's appearance before Congress has little to do with Iran and far more to do with the early elections to the Knesset on May 17, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica comments: "A foreign leader 'occupies' the United States Congress and uses it as a stage for his election campaign by attacking the host government. Historians will find only one precedent for a foreign politician appealing to the US Congress: no one less than the great British statesman Winston Churchill, a strategic ally in the world war against fascism. ... Netanyahu's re-election - because that's what this is all about - will come at a high price. It will leave a stain on relations between America and Israel. The invitation by Congress was condemned by half of the American population. Furthermore it tarnishes Congress's image, which is already at an all-time low in terms of credibility."

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Israeli PM paving the way for nuclear deal

With his inflexible stance in the nuclear dispute Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will achieve the opposite of what he's aiming for, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad predicts: "Almost everyone wants a deal. Iran wants to get out of its isolation. Sanctions and sinking oil prices have brought the country to its knees. ... And for the US and the Europeans Iran is no longer part of the 'axis of evil'. They need Iran as an ally against the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They have realised that isolation doesn't help here. ... Netanyahu's inflexible stance actually seems to be uniting the negotiators on both sides. He's easing the way for Iran to make concessions. If the Iranians adopt a moderate stance they ensure that Netanyahu, and not them, is the bogeyman. This makes it easier to sell the deal - as painful as it is - in Iran."