Israel's officials maintained a deafening, surprising silence on Monday. For the last three years, the prime minister, his cabinet and senior public figures could not shut up, whether their remarks were appropriate or not, and at times even detrimental. The Jewish state was seen by the world as afflicted with uncontrollable chatter. But, lo and behold, precisely on the day that nuclear talks resumed in Moscow — the final stretch in the negotiations with Iran — Jerusalem is silent. Radio silence, Internet silence, media silence.
Over the weekend, only the voice of Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon was heard. In an interview in Haaretz he said he thought diplomacy had to be given a chance, but indicated that the military option, which would follow the failure of diplomatic measures, was closer than ever. He is not the only one whose faith in sanctions has diminished.
Israel is silent because it has been asked to remain silent by the P5+1 (permanent U.N. Security Council members the U.S., U.K., Russia, China and France, plus Germany), which is currently conducting negotiations with Iran. Israel is also trying to avoid future accusations that its loose tongue sabotaged the talks. It is a strange silence, but a refreshing one.
Very little information has come out of the Moscow talks so far. Nothing can be learned from the Iranian spokesman's announcement that Iran was disappointed — this is a well-known ploy in the Middle Easter bazaar: Always complain, always be disappointed, always make your opponent feel that he has to concede more.
Ahead of the talks, seasoned U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross offered to supply Iran with one last offer, stressing that it accept this unconditionally: The West will take care of all of the Shiite empire's civilian nuclear needs if Iran agrees to halt uranium enrichment under international supervision. Sounds logical, but such an American offer has already been accepted by North Korea, but the moment the West fulfilled its part of the bargain, Pyongyang reverted back to its evil ways, and tried selling U.S. President Barack Obama the same lies he had already bought in the past.
There is no reason to believe the ayatollahs any more than we believe the North Koreans. Dictatorships have no respect for countries that strike compromise agreements with them. They assume that democracy is rotten, and won't stand up for its values and rights. Therefore, democracies can be toyed with long after signing a compromise agreement.
That is not to say that there is no hope of striking a reasonable agreement with the ayatollahs. But such a deal would only stand a chance if the P5+1 come to their senses, unite, and implement Ze'ev Jabotinsky's "Iron Wall" policy. That means, after July 1, when the next round of sanctions is supposed to take effect, a siege, not only on Iran's oil exports and naval insurance but also, mainly, on its central bank. That would be a crippling blow to Iran's economy, even if they develop technological alternatives to circumvent the effects of their isolation.
There is no time for negotiations. Harsher, speedier sanctions are in order, and only when they are implemented can the West approach the evil Shiite regime with offers of compromise. The current pressure is ineffective. It is just as much a part of the U.S. presidential election campaign as it is a global effort to protect democracy.