Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has never shied away from speaking his mind, nor has he refrained from taking the "unpopular" stance of being hawkish when it comes to defending his country from the sea of aggressors which surrounds it. Now more than ever, as Iran draws dangerously close to attaining the nuclear arsenal it has been working tirelessly to build, the prime minister is prepared to show the world that, with or without U.S. aid, Israel will strike Iran if necessary. What's more, he's not afraid to accept responsibility for the ensuing consequences should such a strike take place.
His bold declaration, made during a closed meeting this week, only underscores his disappointment in current security establishment officials, who he believes are only concerned about saving face and avoiding having to take responsibility for a potential Israeli strike. And Netanyahu stated this week that he would not be concerned if an investigative committee was formed afterwards.
According to Haaretz, a number of officials who attended the meeting and who asked to remain nameless, said that most of those present believe the prime minister is steadfast in his resolve not to rely on the United States and can be expected to order an IDF strike against Iran in the months ahead.
Some believe, however, that a different strategy is at play:
Others present at the meeting, however, pointed out that Netanyahu’s comments seemed to be part of the “psychological warfare” campaign that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are conducting, in order to pressure the U.S. into attacking Iran itself.
At one point during the meeting, a participant asked Netanyahu what he thinks could possibly happen the day after an Israeli strike on Iran. According to one official present at the meeting, the question angered Netanyahu. “If an investigative committee is formed, I’ll go and say that I, I am responsible,” said Netanyahu, as he pounded the table, and his chest, with his fist.
Haaretz reports that the impassioned Netanyahu continued, “I’ve had enough of this atmosphere.”
“It’s also felt in other discussions [on Iran], people keep showing me presentations prepared as if for an investigative committee. I’ve told them to stop with these presentations, stop speaking on protocol, and get to the point."
While the Israeli war hero allegedly made it clear during the meeting that he would prefer the U.S. to take the initiative, he believes the U.S. is not yet prepared to pursue military action. Haaretz adds:
According to Netanyahu, certain criteria would have to exist before the U.S. would be willing to attack Iran. If Iran were to begin enriching uranium to 90 percent instead of 20, attack American interests in the Persian gulf or carry out a massive attack against Israel, then the U.S. might be prepared to strike, he said.
Netanyahu admitted that the chance of these things happening is low, though if the U.S. does attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel will not need to attack as well, he said, explaining that “the Israeli home front will be hit with ricochets no matter what happens.”
Netanyahu also said he holds a bi-weekly meeting to discuss that issue and prepare for it. “Even if rockets are fired, that would be preferable to a nuclear bomb,” he said.
When asked if an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities would thwart or merely set back by a year or two the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, he invoked the 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, stating, “then too, people said it would take them two years to rebuild the reactor, but the fact remains that to this day [Iraq] doesn’t have a nuclear weapon."