Deploying military force against Iranian nuclear sites too early or without the United States' approval could ultimately be detrimental in preventing an Iranian bomb, former head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin said Monday.
"If we get to the junction where we have to choose between a bomb and bombing, I am of the opinion that bombing is less of a strategic threat," Yadlin said at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's World Summit. "But the question is, have we reached that junction or is there a third, less dangerous path?"
Although Israel has the military capability to hit Iranian nuclear sites, Yadlin said, bombing isn't the end of the story. "Tomorrow is another day," he emphasized.
Because a military strike would only set Iran back so far, Israel would need political, economic and military support from the world and the United States, in particular, for a decade to ensure that Iran would not develop a nuclear weapons capability. That, he said, "Israeli for certain cannot do alone."
Speaking after the former military intelligence chief, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz echoed his belief that Israel should not act alone against Iran unless it is absolutely the last option. Mofaz said that the US should lead such an operation, as Israel could only delay, not halt the Iranian nuclear program.
However, while Yadlin called the Iranian threat Israel's "number one strategic priority," Mofaz conversely opined that the nation had lost sight of its real priorities, which includes peace with Palestinians as well as socioeconomic issues.
The danger of Israel becoming a bi-national state is far greater than the Iranian threat, Mofaz asserted, stressing the importance of reaching an agreement soon. He said that the longer Israel waits, the harder it will become, pointing to the danger of Hamas growing stronger and taking control of the West Bank, as well as the eventuality of a bi-national state.
The opposition leader said that while it wouldn't be easy, he believes it is possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, and that border and security issues can be resolved relatively quickly.