In a series of interviews yesterday Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he has yet to reach a decision regarding the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Speaking to Channel 10 yesterday evening, Netanyahu also denied recent claims that the heads of Israel’s security establishment are opposed to such a strike.
“In Israel’s democracy, and in any other democracy, it is the political echelon that determines policy. The military echelon implements this policy. I’ve yet to reach a decision,” he said, while mentioning that the security establishment was against former-prime minister Menachem Begin’s decision to attack Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.
Netanyahu added that the regime in Tehran was seeking nuclear capabilities in order to “annihilate us, and is not concealing its intention to use nuclear weapons. I believe they must be prevented from doing so – I won’t let it happen.”
Earlier yesterday, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said, “all options remain on the table” regarding Iran. Speaking to reporters, Gantz said, “Iran is continuing with its efforts to achieve nuclear capabilities. This is a severe global and regional problem and we should not ignore it, because (Iran) is the only country in the world that is developing nuclear weapons while calling to annihilate another country.”
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is currently in Israel and will meet with Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres later today. The Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported yesterday that Panetta is expected to convey a clear message in his meetings: that a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear programme would not be welcomed by the Obama administration. The report added that Panetta will present Israeli officials with Pentagon plans to attack Iran’s nuclear programme, but only in approximately 18 months.