Pensioners' Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan said Friday, “according to intelligence information Iran will produce an operational nuclear bomb within 3-10 years,” adding that Israel has been left to deal with the situation on its own as the US under the Bush Administration will not attack Iran.
Speaking before members of the Trade and Industry Club in Tel Aviv, Eitan said, “I believe that there is no power in the world that can prevent Iran from producing a nuclear bomb. Currently Israel does not have the military-political option of attacking Iran, as the US controls the Persian Gulf, Iran and Iraq area,” he said.
“We cannot attack without Washington’s consent,” Eitan said. “Bush is weak within the US, and the chance that he’ll launch an attack against Iran is slim. I don’t think sanctions will affect Iran in its quest for a bomb. The threat is not only directed toward Israel, but also at Arab and other countries.”
Turning his attention to Israeli-Palestinian relations, Eitan said, “there is no chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians in the near future.”
'Arafat realized his vision'
Eitan, who served as Mossad’s director of operations for many years, said “such agreements can be reached, but they wouldn’t be worth anything at this stage of our lives.”
“During one of the Palestinian conferences I was able to infiltrate, Yasser Arafat reiterated what he had said his entire life: ‘We will build a Palestinian system of many separate military units; only in this way will we be able to defeat the Jews and expel them to the sea’,” he said.
“Arafat realized his vision and built separate units that were added to the PLO’s military wings. This structure still exists in today’s Palestinian Authority; Hamas won’t change it, and neither will Fatah. I don’t see anyone who can change it.”
As to Prime Minster Ehud Olmert’s plan to unilaterally evacuate settlements in the West Bank Eitan said, “Israel must remain in the security zones, meaning all those zones we do not plan on annexing.”