Is­rael se­cu­rity heads nixed Iran at­tack

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

JERUSALEM

Is­rael’s prime min­is­ter or­dered the mil­i­tary to go on high alert for a loom­ing at­tack on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram two years ago, but backed off fol­low­ing strong ob­jec­tions from se­nior se­cu­rity of­fi­cials, a re­spected Is­raeli news pro­gram re­ported

The re­port ex­posed a deep rift be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu and his top se­cu­rity of­fi­cials over the wis­dom of at­tack­ing Iran but also in­di­cated that Is­rael was much closer to car­ry­ing out a strike at that time than was pre­vi­ously known.

Chan­nel 2 TV’s flag­ship in­ves­tiga­tive pro­gram “Uvda,” or “Fact,” re­ported that to­ward the end of a meet­ing in 2010 Ne­tanyahu and his de­fense min­is­ter, Ehud Barak, or­dered Is­rael’s mil­i­tary chief and di­rec­tor of the Mos­sad es­pi­onage agency to put the coun­try on “P Plus” sta­tus — code for pre-at­tack mode on Iran.

The re­port said the of­fi­cials were shocked. Then-mil­i­tary chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashke­nazi warned that Is­rael’s en­e­mies would notice the mea­sure, which might touch off a war. “This is not some­thing you do if you are not sure you will ul­ti­mately want to carry it out,” he was quoted by uniden­ti­fied close as­so­ci­ates as say­ing. “This ac­cor­dion pro­duces mu­sic when you play with it.”

Meir Da­gan, the Mos­sad chief at the time, was even blunter, telling the lead­ers that with­out seek­ing for­mal ap­proval from Ne­tanyahu’s Se­cu­rity Cab­i­net, a de­ci­sion-mak­ing body of gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, they were “tak­ing an il­le­gal de­ci­sion.” “The prime min­is­ter and de­fense min­is­ter sim­ply tried to steal a de­ci­sion to go to war,” he was quoted by Uvda as say­ing. Da­gan did not ap­pear on cam­era, and Uvda at­trib­uted his re­marks to his “as­so­ci­ates.”

Is­rael con­sid­ers a nu­clear-armed Iran to be an ex­is­ten­tial threat, cit­ing Ira­nian de­nials of the Holo­caust, its calls for Is­rael’s de­struc­tion, its de­vel­op­ment of mis­siles ca­pa­ble of strik­ing the Jewish state and its sup­port for hos­tile Arab mil­i­tant groups. Tehran says its nu­clear pro­gram is peace­ful and de­signed to pro­duce en­ergy and med­i­cal iso­topes.

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