Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud) said on Sunday he intends to investigate whether information divulged by former Defense Minister Ehud Barak regarding a possible Iran strike was properly cleared for publication, and if so, why.
The air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities were ostensibly planned to take place because Netanyahu and Barak anticipated that Iran would enter a “zone of immunity”, in which its facilities were so well-protected or developed as to render an attack on them either a short-term solution or even futile.
In response to the revelations, the office of the serving Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “We have no intention to comment on what is happening in the Octet [key Israeli body] or the cabinet discussions in general and on distorted and tendentious versions in particular”.
Barak attempted to prevent the broadcast of the recordings, which are apparently related to a forthcoming biography of him, but Israel’s military censors approved their release. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
Ashkenazi’s successor Benny Gantz told the country’s political leadership that “the possibilities (for an attack on Iran) exist, but you know its limitations and risks”, Barak said. Currently, Netanyahu has threatened that Israel will act alone to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Barak is a former military chief of staff who had a long and highly decorated military career.
“He created an untenable situation”, Barak said of Ashkenazi. Following a meeting at Mossad headquarters, Barak was confident that a “forum of eight” senior ministers could be garnered to approve a strike. Others included then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who later made public his opposition, and top ministers including Dan Meridor and Eli Yishai. We went there after Bibi told the two of us – Lieberman and me – that Bogey and Steinitz supported [the operation]. “Either Bibi did not do his preparation or he had misunderstood what constitutes a yes”.
Israel has regularly hinted it could attack Iran to stop it getting nuclear weapons, something Teheran denies it is seeking. According to a follow-up report on Channel 2, there is widespread “anger” directed towards Barak.
“This is perhaps one reason, among others, that Iran is supported by the global community, while we, Israel, are swept into the corner”. He highlighted the importance of this question and claimed it was more relevant than ever before.