Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, March 2, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST)
Israel has a consistent policy of preventing its enemies from acquiring nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, 12 hours after the IDF Censor allowed publication of details of the 2007 attack on a nuclear reactor that was being built in northeastern Syria.
“The Israeli government, IDF and Mossad prevented Syria from developing nuclear capabilities,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “For this they are deserving of all praise. Israel’s policy has been and remains consistent – to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with nuclear weapons.”
Damascus, meanwhile, remained silent Wednesday on the matter. Israel’s admission has placed President Bashar Assad in a tricky position, since he never admitted that Syria – contrary to its international obligations – was building a nuclear reactor.
Netanyahu was the head of the opposition at the time of the attack, and was interviewed soon after it on what was then Channel 1. When the interviewer, Haim Yavin, said to Netanyahu that he had not yet heard him praise then-prime minister Ehud Olmert for the operation, which at the time was shrouded in mystery, Netanyahu replied, “When the prime minister does things that in my eyes are important for Israel’s security, I give my backing. Here, too, I was involved in this matter from the very beginning and gave my backing, but it is too early to discuss this issue, and there will be plenty of time to give out all the congratulations.”
Asked if he called Olmert to congratulate him, Netanyahu replied: “Yes.”Netanyahu
was taken to task after that interview for discussing the operation, seeming to confirm it, even though at the time Israel had not admitted to it and it was under a blackout from the censor. His critics charged he was somehow trying to elbow in and take some of the credit for the action.