Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo by Amit Shavi
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Speaking in a closed meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated this week that he is not troubled by the possibility that an investigative committee could be formed after a theoretical Israeli strike on Iran.

Netanyahu criticized security establishment officials for their handling of the issue, hinting that they are primarily concerned about avoiding having to take responsibility for their actions.

A number of people who attended the meeting, who asked to remain nameless, said that the majority of those present left the meeting feeling that Netanyahu remains steadfast in his determination not to rely on the United States, and can be expected to order the IDF to attack Iran in the coming months.

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 of the meeting's participants, 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.

The fuming Netanyahu didn’t stop there. “I’ve had enough of this atmosphere,” he said. “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,” said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu made it clear to those present that he prefers that the U.S. “do the work," though he admits that the U.S. is not prepared to pursue a military option at this point.  

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.

Netanyahu was also asked if an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities would be effective enough to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, or only set it back a year or two.

As he has in the past, Netanyahu referenced the 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor. “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,” said Netanyahu.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in response, “We do not comment on issues discussed in closed forces, including when the quotes from them are inaccurate.”

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