|Netanyahu 370.(Photo by: Moshe Milner/GPO)|
PM: Gov't, not army to decide on Iran attack
By HERB KEINON
Netanyahu says his mind is still not made up on bombing nuclear reactors, recalls Begin's decision to bomb Iraq reactor despite opposition from Mossad, military intelligence heads.
The decision whether to attack Iran will be taken by the country’s elected
political leadership, and not by the defense and security establishment, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a number of television interviews
Netanyahu’s comments followed a front page headline in Tuesday’s
Yediot Aharonot saying that the US administration believes Israel’s top military
and intelligence brass – including IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Air
Force Commander Maj.- Gen. Amir Eshel, Head of Military Intelligence Maj.- Gen.
Aviv Kochavi, Mossad head Tamir Pardo, and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
head Yoram Cohen – are all opposed to an Israeli attack without US
Stressing that he has not yet made a decision regarding an
attack on Iran, Netanyahu told Channel 2 that in democracies the political
echelon decides, and the professional echelon carries out those
“That is the way it has always been, and will always be,” he
said. To illustrate the point, Netanyahu said that former prime minister
Menachem Begin chose in 1981 to attack the nuclear reactor in Iraq despite
opposition at the time from the heads of the Mossad and military
In a rare move during his current term in office, Netanyahu
granted four television interviews – to channels 1, 2, 10 and the
Russian-language Channel 9 – primarily to get across his message regarding the
government’s current economic steps. The interviews, however, spilled into other
areas, including Iran.
The prime minister said that while he has not yet made a decision regarding an attack on Iran, he sees “the regime of the
ayatollahs declaring what it has etched on its banner – to destroy us.
is working to destroy us, and is preparing atom bombs to destroy us. As much as
it is dependent on me, I will not let that happen.”
Reminded that both US
President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney have said they will not countenance a nuclear Iran, Netanyahu said that
the “source and foundation of the State of Israel is that we will not leave in
the hands of others, not even our best friends, matters concerning our
Regarding Syria and the threat of chemical weapons being
transferred to Hezbollah, Netanyahu stopped short of saying what Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman said a few days ago: That this would serve as a clear
justification for war.
However, he did say that while not eager to take
action in such circumstances, “I don’t rule out the possibility that in a
situation like this – of leakage of chemical weapons to Hezbollah or extreme
groups – Israel does not rule out that possibility that it will take
Asked by Channel 9 about the recent Romney visit, Netanyahu
stressed that he met Romney in the same way in which he – as opposition head –
met Obama when he came to Israel as a candidate just three months before the
Netanyahu said Romney’s visit went exactly according to
the same protocol that governs all visits by leading presidential candidates
from both parties.