Livni Seeks Hearing on Netanyahu's Campaign in U.S. Against Iran Deal

Zionist Union co-leader demands Knesset panel be convened to examine what influence the PM's initiative could have on U.S.-Israel relations.


MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) is demanding that Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi convene the committee urgently to discuss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign in Congress and among American Jews against the Iran nuclear deal.

“The activity could have dramatic consequences that have not been weighed by the committee and not, I believe, by the security cabinet, either,” said Livni, a former foreign minister, in her letter to Hanegbi.

Livni essentially demanded that the committee “activate” the panel’s near-unanimous decision from July 15, the day after the agreement between Iran and the six world powers was signed. That resolution stated that the nuclear agreement “has many weighty negative ramifications for the State of Israel’s security,” and called on the government and the Knesset “to closely monitor the meticulous and tough application of the clauses that impose restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program while nurturing the historic alliance between the United States and Israel.”

Livni argued in her letter that Netanyahu’s actions in recent weeks contravene the committee’s resolution, and a hearing was needed to examine what influence the premier’s initiatives could have on U.S.-Israeli relations.

“This debate is important whether Congress rejects the agreement or ratifies it,” she wrote. “It’s urgent for the next few days because of the tight schedule, and relevant in principle even for those who believe it’s a bad deal, as I do.”

Livni added that she wants the panel also to discuss the ramifications for Israel if Congress rejects the nuclear agreement, and to seek answers to such as questions as: Would that mean the agreement is null and void? Would it still be upheld by the other powers, and would the United States still be obligated to uphold its part? What do the intelligence agencies think about how Iran would behave in such an instance?

Livni also said the committee must debate the American offer to upgrade the Israel Defense Forces capabilities following the nuclear deal – an offer Netanyahu has refused to discuss. “We must debate the question of what security deployments are necessary and their timing, including security arrangements with the United States, given that the negative consequences of the deal are already being expressed in various spheres, particularly the legitimacy of Iran,” she wrote.

In the month that has passed since the Vienna agreement was signed between Iran and the world powers, the Knesset committee has held almost no intensive discussions of the deal. A session with National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen addressed it briefly, as did a meeting that the panel’s subcommittee on intelligence held with senior Mossad agents.