Members of Iran's Basij paramilitary force march in Tehran
Members of Iran's Basij paramilitary force march in TehranReuters

As the clock winds down, Israel has not made it obvious how it will try to influence a final nuclear deal between Iran on the one hand and the team of the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany (P5+1) on the other.

"Development of the Nuclear Talks, the Politics of the Obama Government and the Implications for the Middle East," a one-day conference being put on by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, will take place on May 7 and make the effort to inform Israeli policy in response to the nuclear framework agreement with Iran.

The deadline for the final deal is June 30th. This leaves the new Israeli government no time to rest and take stock of the situation; Israel will have to adapt quickly to policy recommendations if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not already decided on a definitive approach.

To Owen Alterman, who will moderate the panel on the Iranian nuclear negotiations, it is clear Israel is not happy with the deal, but a well-calibrated response is not necessarily in place.

Alterman told Arutz Sheva, "it is clear that the government does not like the 'understandings' - I won't call it a 'deal' because there is no 'deal.' Netanyahu and the Israeli government are certainly worried going forward and hoping that Congress will step in and be a sort of backstop as it were."

The panel will try to arrive at a sound strategy for Jerusalem to have an impact on the final agreement, whether they like the final outcome or not. But also important are the strategic implications of what is going on.

"We'll have a variety of perspectives: someone is going to be prepared to defend the understandings, while the other two we expect to disagree.”

Panelists will include Yair Evron, a senior researcher and expert in Israeli security policy; Ephraim Asculai, who specializes in nuclear and arms control policy and worked at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) for over 40 years; and Emily Landau, who specializes in nuclear proliferation.

Landau might be of the position that Israel would accommodate an agreement based on the security guarantees that the United States offers it, as she mentioned in an interview with Arutz Sheva earlier this month.

What of the Israel-US alliance?

Alterman went on to say that the panel will try to turn several pressing questions inside out in order to get at a strong Israeli approach to the implications on the Middle East.

"First, how's this affecting the region? How is this affecting the geopolitics of the region and how are the nuclear talks affecting the regional actors themselves? Secondly, we will ask, 'Where do the talks stand?'"

That might not be a reliable strategy however, since it relies heavily on another party - the US Congress - which has its own considerations in its response to the deal and whether or not to oppose it.

"Is that the right strategy though? Even if it is, is it enough? What type of contacts should we have with the administration? What does this mean for our regional posture?," said Alterman.

All these questions lead into the second panel, covering primarily Israel's strategic relationship with the United States. There might be an emerging consensus that the public fighting between the Obama Administration and Netanyahu Government has not been good for either party, but how much of a rapprochement the two have and what they decide to do in tandem is still a matter of debate. This panel is aimed at facilitating that relationship and considering a common policy.

"We're looking at the angle from the United States, both in terms of American foreign policy; i.e., how do the nuke in with broader policy toward the region? Secondly, how will American internal politics affect how the scenarios (develop)? Last, what does it mean for our ties with the US?"

"On the US panel we have two former Israeli ambassadors to the United States (Itamar Rabinovich and Sally Meridor) who understand internal and foreign policy; there will also be Shmuel Rosner who is a leading expert on all things America but especially domestic politics. Oded Eran (senior researcher at INSS) will be moderating."

When Arutz Sheva asked if the conference would turn its focus to the strategic fallout in the region after June 30, Alterman said it would.

"Sure, it will be. Part of the question, the narrower focus, what should Israel be doing to influence the outcome of the talks? But given that the talks have already led to a different type of situation [in the Middle East] than the one even just two years ago, what should we be doing?"

The conference will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the Institute for National Security Studies on 40 Chaim Levanon Rd. in Ramat Aviv. Attendance is open to the public and the conference will be in Hebrew. The conference program can be found here.