What does the peace process have to do with Iran?

Several analysis are linking the resumption of the peace talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s desire to legitimize a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Some even claim that the U.S. administration is in the loop. 

There were at least three articles in the Hebrew media this week speculating on the option of an Israeli strike on Iran. All pieces linked those scenarios to the peace process, and to the Wall Street Journal‘s report on reactor in Arak, which is due to become operational in the coming months and could be used for the creation of a plutonium bomb (those reports were already disputed, even in Israel)

Writing for Al-Monitor, Ben Caspit (who opposes the idea of an Israeli attack), speculates:

A week ago [July 30], after the painful decision to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom are “heavyweight” murderers, to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon had something very interesting to say: Underlying the decision to release prisoners — he stated — “were strategic considerations, which might be revealed in the future.” (…) What will we understand in the future? In light of the intimations, the signals and the whispers, we are able to figure out the quiet deal that was cut between Israel and the United States: Israel will do whatever is necessary to start negotiations with the Palestinians, maybe even reach a type of an interim arrangement ahead of the final status arrangement. America will give Israel a green light to bomb Iran after having fully verified that the Iranians are really poised to make the final “charge” toward the bomb.

At Haaretz, Sefi Rachlevsky and Alon Ben David raised the same idea – that the real reason Netanyahu entered the peace process is his desire to legitimize an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities. Rechlevsky is an author and doesn’t have good sources (his article is not as much of a report as an analysis of Netanyahu’s character) but Alon Ben David is a veteran military correspondent. In previous weeks others have made similar suggestions (see Ynet’s military correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai).

There is also speculation that the nature of the understanding on this issue between the American administration and Israel has changed. Former head of military intelligence Amos Yadlin told Israel’s Army Radio this week that the administration’s position has “moved from a red light to yellow.”

Reports are that the heads of Israel’s security forces remain in opposition to an attack, including Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel.