THE BLOG

Will White House Sell Palestine to Get Iran Deal?

04/09/2015 09:14 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

Israel is heavily engaged in two international cases: the international efforts to curtail Iran's nuclear program and the world's desire to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

While the nuclear issue appears to be on its way to being resolved, there is concern that a trade-off between the two cases might take place.

All sides deny that the two cases are linked, but there is worry that the fierce Israeli opposition to the U.S. and European framework agreement with Iran could force Washington to make an unethical trade-off.

U.S. President Barack Obama is facing a stubborn opposition to the framework agreement from his Republican opponents in Congress, and even from some of his fellow democrats.

There is no doubt that the opposition in Congress would be eased if the Israelis were to suddenly see the light and realize that the P5+1 agreement is not a bad deal, and much better than no deal.

Both Israel and the U.S. have repeatedly said that they prefer no deal with Iran rather than a bad deal.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his team have worked tirelessly to produce the framework agreement that applies the strictest monitoring regime every created against a potentially nuclear country.

The framework accord will be expanded to a full agreement by June. In return, the world community agreed that once a full agreement is signed, the international boycott of Iran will be totally lifted.

The extended negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program produced an unholy alliance between right-wing U.S. Republicans and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This alliance was heightened last month by a controversial speech made by the Israeli leader to the joint houses of Congress in opposition to the White House.

Major pro-Israel and pro-Republican American donors, like casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, are among the financial backers of both Netanyahu and Obama's Republican opponents.

The speech in Washington alienated many Democrats who felt that the Israeli leader was disrespectful to America's president.

The victory of Netanyahu's Likud Party in Israeli parliamentary elections last month has widened the gap between the White House and the Israeli Likud leader.

During the hotly fought elections, Netanyahu vowed to his supporters that if elected, there will be no Palestinian state during his term in office.

While Netanyahu backed off from his electoral promise the day after being elected, this had done little to soften the Obama administration's anger at the Israeli leader's anti-peace position.

The U.S. is leading a coalition of Arab and Muslim countries against extremist groups that have been destabilizing the Middle East and North African region.

The U.S. believes that the continuation of the Israeli occupation adds to the frustration of the peoples of the region.

As the U.S. Congress gears up to oppose the framework deal with Iran, the White House is rallying the U.S. public behind its position that the agreement is the best possible with the current Iranian regime.

In Capitol Hill, the Republicans, who are a majority in both Houses, are trying to convince enough Democrats to join them in opposing the deal.

Republicans need a veto-busting majority of votes in order to frustrate what could be a major legacy for the two-term president.

While it is clear that African American Democrats will not agree to join this anti-Iran effort, there is no such guarantee for other Democrats, especially some of the pro-Israel legislators.

One such Democrat is the pro-Israel senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, who is reportedly wavering between standing with his fellow Democratic president or opposing the Iranian deal.

The high-ranking New York senator, who is among a handful of American Jewish congressmen, is under immense pressure to join Republicans in opposing a deal that Israel's leader is also opposing.

If the attempt to reach this super two-thirds majority is close and the White House is desperate to stop the movement of Democrats towards the other side, will the Obama administration attempt to sway some of the hesitant pro-Israel Democratic members not to join the Republicans in return for the White House refraining from pressuring Israel on the Palestine issue?

Politics makes strange bedfellows and political trade-offs are common in all arenas.

While the Palestinian issue is a just cause, there is no guarantee that in its zeal to seal the Iran agreement, the Obama administration will not soften its currently tough stand against Netanyahu regarding the need to end Israeli occupation.

Arabs and other supporters or Palestine must make sure that such a link between support for Iran and opposition to Palestine does not bear fruit in the crucial coming months.