Israel security officials against Iran attack
Israel’s prime minister ordered the military to go on high alert for a looming attack on Iran’s nuclear program two years ago, but backed off following strong objections from senior security officials, a respected Israeli news program reported
The report exposed a deep rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top security officials over the wisdom of attacking Iran but also indicated that Israel was much closer to carrying out a strike at that time than was previously known.
Channel 2 TV’s flagship investigative program “Uvda,” or “Fact,” reported that toward the end of a meeting in 2010 Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, ordered Israel’s military chief and director of the Mossad espionage agency to put the country on “P Plus” status — code for pre-attack mode on Iran.
The report said the officials were shocked. Then-military chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned that Israel’s enemies would notice the measure, which might touch off a war. “This is not something you do if you are not sure you will ultimately want to carry it out,” he was quoted by unidentified close associates as saying. “This accordion produces music when you play with it.”
Meir Dagan, the Mossad chief at the time, was even blunter, telling the leaders that without seeking formal approval from Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet, a decision-making body of government ministers, they were “taking an illegal decision.” “The prime minister and defense minister simply tried to steal a decision to go to war,” he was quoted by Uvda as saying. Dagan did not appear on camera, and Uvda attributed his remarks to his “associates.”
Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be an existential threat, citing Iranian denials of the Holocaust, its calls for Israel’s destruction, its development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state and its support for hostile Arab militant groups. Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful and designed to produce energy and medical isotopes.