Report: Netanyahu “Determined to Attack Iran

Israel’s Channel 10 News is reporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “determined “ to strike Iranian nuclear facilities this fall, before the November elections in the U.S., and that Israel’s leaders believe the Obama administration will have no choice but to support the Israeli military action.

Asked by the newscast’s anchor “How close are we to a decision and/or an attack?” Military Affairs Correspondent Alon Ben-David said on Monday night, “It appears closer than ever.” He reports [Hebrew link]:

It’s very clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to attack Iran before the U.S. elections.

Now, two months after severe sanctions on Iran have not borne fruit, in the prime minister’s opinion, the time for action is getting closer.  It also appears that Netanyahu does not expect to have a meeting with Obama at the end of next month at the UN – and it’s unclear if it will take place. I doubt if there is any statement Obama can make that will convince Netanyahu to delay the possible attack.

In interviews that both he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, it seems they believe that the US president will have to give backing for an Israeli attack before the elections, even though Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said this morning that the U.S. is not obligated to give support to an Israeli strike.

Within Israel there is significant disagreement over how to best handle Iran’s determined efforts toward becoming a nuclear power. Just last week, Israel’s President Shimon Peres was slammed by officials in the prime minister’s office and by Likud Members of Knesset for saying in a television interview that Israel cannot strike Iran on its own. Ben-David maps out the extensive list of those who disagree with Netanyahu’s strategy:

It’s true that opposite Netanyahu stands an impressive line of those opposing – from the [Israeli] President [Shimon Peres], to the [IDF] chief of staff and generals, heads of intelligence, opposition leader [Shaul] Mofaz, and of course the Americans, but the one that will decide in the end will be the cabinet, and there it seems a Netanyahu majority for an attack is almost guaranteed.

Another sign perhaps signaling imminent action: on Monday, Israel’s National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror met with one of the country’s leading spiritual figures, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in order to brief him on the latest developments regarding Iran. Ynet cites a story on the ultra-Orthodox website Kikar Hashabat:

Political sources said that it is likely that the meeting was part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to rally ministers’ support in the event that the government will need to vote on an independent strike against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.

The paper reports that Shas, the religious political party for which Rabbi Yosef is a spiritual guide, also disagrees with Netanyahu about striking Iran unilaterally, “Nevertheless, should Rabbi Yosef declare his support for such a move, his decree will spell a shift in the party’s decision.”

For Netanyahu, the historic significance of Iran’s nuclear efforts cannot be underestimated. In the past, the prime minister has compared the Iranian threat to the Holocaust due to the genocidal statements of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s religious leaders and the efforts to acquire the means by which to carry out those threats.

Here is the report from Israel’s Channel 10 [Hebrew report]:

(H/T: Times of Israel)