Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised on Monday that by the time his next term as Prime Minister is over, Iran will not have a nuclear weapons program.
Speaking to Channel 2, Netanyahu said that if it is necessary, he will lead an independent Israeli attack against Iran, even without the support of the United States.
“When former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel, was it with the consent of the Americans? When former Prime Minister Menachem Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, was that with the consent of the Americans?” asked Netanyahu.
“If there someone here who, as Prime Minister of Israel, cannot act on things that are fundamental to the State, to its future and to its security and depends only on approval of others, he does not deserve to lead,” said Netanyahu.
“When we didn’t have a state, when we didn’t have an army, and when someone threatened to destroy us and then actually annihilated us, we went and pleaded with others,” he said. “Today we don’t plead, we prepare.”
The interview with Netanyahu was a follow-up to an investigative report on Sunday which said that he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the military and intelligence service to prepare for a military strike on Iran in 2010.
According to the report, the two met stiff opposition from then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and then-Head of Mossad Meir Dagan.
Responding to accusations by Dagan that he and Barak were trying to ‘steal’ a war, Netanyahu clarified that “the responsibility ultimately lies with the Prime Minister.”
Barak also responded to the report and said that contrary to the claims by Ashkenazi and Dagan, the order that was given to them did not mean that they should go to war. At the same time he clarified that, “The assumption that says that if the Chief of Staff does not recommend doing something means that you cannot decide to do it – is baseless. The Chief of Staff builds the operational capacity, he should tell us professionally if he thinks it can be done or not, and he can also even make a recommendation, but ultimately it can be carried out even against his recommendation.”
Netanyahu’s predecessor, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, also gave an interview to Channel 2 and attacked Netanyahu over his threat to attack Iran without the support of the Americans.
“What is this talk about us being the ones to decide alone about our fate and not take anyone else into account?” said Olmert. “Someone please explain to me exactly with what planes we’ll attack if we decide to attack alone contrary to the opinion of others? Will it be aircraft we created here? With which bombs we will bomb? With bombs we made? And if we find that we are missing something, who will we ask for it? Those in the face of whom we spit today? The one that we have done everything to ensure that he will not be president of the United States?”
Netanyahu’s responded to Olmert’s remarks and said, “What I’m hearing now is that we have to actually say, ‘In this matter that threatens our future, we are giving the keys to the Americans. You decide whether to eliminate the threat that threatens our very existence.’ That’s not my approach. My approach says that if others can do it, all the better, but if there is no alternative and we are with our backs to the wall, we will do what we need to do to protect ourselves.”