The Israeli campaign to encourage fear of Iran's nuclear weapons appears to be losing momentum. Over several years, Israel's allies in Washington have succeeded in painting Iran as a real and live threat that can only be tackled by military action. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also deliberately refused to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and he is using the international controversy to his own domestic advantage.

However, the talks in Istanbul last month showed that negotiations are not completely dead. But more interestingly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wild rhetoric that Ahmadinejad's regime poses an existential threat to Israel (and others) has been sharply resisted by senior officials from the Israeli military and intelligence.

In an unusual break with normal solidarity with the government, Yuval Diskin, a former head of Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet, has said that any attack on Iran's nuclear programme may in fact spur Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon. And more importantly, Netanyahu's own military Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz has spoken out against his political masters, when he said that he considered Iran's leadership to be rational. Such senior dissent will be an important brake on Netanyahu's aggression.