This morning I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion featuring Haaretz Washington correspondent Natasha Mozgovaya, JTA Washington bureau chief Ron Kampeas, Al-Hayat Washington correspondent Joyce Karam, and expert Mideast policy wonk David Makovsky. Both Makovsky and Mozgovaya confirmed what I thought all along, that what’s happening right now is just political posturing and an exercise in flamboyant deterrence. Here’s what Makovsky had to say:
I think their [Netanyahu and Barak] fear was that the IAEA report would get lost, and they’re looking for ways to keep this issue in the international news so that it gets maximum attention. They were afraid it would go down the news hole, so they tested the Jericho missile. The last time they tested it was four years ago, and the name Jericho wasn’t even mentioned, but this time there was a press release, and the test was done during the day out in the open. When Israel wants to hide things they know how to do it, and they wanted this report to build pressure on Iran and the US.