"The manner in which the Americans relate to the intelligence report on Iran is similar to the way in which they viewed those reports they received during the Holocaust on railways transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their death at Auschwitz," Minister Yitzhak Cohen of Shas said during a security cabinet meeting Sunday morning on the Iranian nuclear issue.
"It can not be that (US President George W.) Bush is committed to peace as was declared at Annapolis, and then the Americans propagate such an intelligence report which contradicts the information we have proving Iran intends to obtain nuclear weapons," Cohen said. "How can we rely on the Americans if they publish this report that emasculates what the world explicitly knows regarding Iran, and renders impotent the entire struggle against the Iranians?"
Minister Cohen asserted that the report must have been "ordered by someone who wants dialogue with Tehran" and formulated an historical analogy to express just how serious the situation is: "In the middle of the previous century the Americans received intelligence reports from Auschwitz on the packed trains going to the extermination camps. They claimed then that the railways were industrial. Their attitude today to the information coming out of Iran on the Iranians' intention to produce a nuclear bomb reminds one of their attitude during the holocaust."
Cabinet Member Cohen had this to say to his fellow ministers not present in the meeting: "Whoever thinks that the president of Iran is a lover of Zion, with Kosher certification from the Americans, misleads and is mislead. He is not a lover of Zion, but instead an aspiring strangler of Zion. Someone in America fell asleep on his watch, but we must remain awake and aware."
'Pressure on Iran must continue'
Neither Cohen nor the Shas party would confirm nor deny the remarks the minister made in the meeting.
Earlier a senior security source told Ynet that "Iran will do all in its power to proceed on the path (to a nuclear weapon), while trying to confuse the western world." In the meeting, policy makers attempted to formulate the Israeli response to the American National Intelligence Estimate, published last week, which asserted that Iran suspended its activities for acquiring nuclear weapons in 2003.
Cabinet ministers were be briefed on the issue after the meeting but are not yet expected to make any decisions regarding the Israeli response to the report, which will likely prevent the imposition of a third round of economic sanctions on Iran by the UN Security Council.
The uniform stance of most cabinet members is that Israel must neutralize the effects of the American intelligence report.
According to senior ministers, Israel has information proving that Iran did not cease in its efforts to obtain a nuclear bomb, and is only acting in secret. Nevertheless, none of the three top ministers, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, or Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni seeks to create a confrontation with the American administration.
A senior security official who has seen the materials Israel possesses claims that there is enough incriminating information regarding Iran's intentions.
"Even if the world lacks clear evidence, the (Iranian) agenda is clear. We have no doubt that it is (President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs who are directing the program. Israel has gathered enough information to obligate the international community to continue with its intensive activity against creating a bomb," he said.
Yishai: Delaying the inevitableDeputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai, also of Shas, said before the cabinet meeting: "International pressure on Iran must continue. We know the truth, as does the rest of the world. We must not play dumb in the face of the report's supposed findings. This report is mistaken and is only trying to delay the inevitable. It has only intensified the danger. Don't say this is more of the usual, because we are thus likely to fall asleep and wake up with a nuclear Iran."
Minister Yishai warned that "these attempts at postponement endanger us and the world at large."
According to the minister, this is not the right time to address the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, but that "we must act on all levels to eliminate the Iranian danger."
Over the weekend NATO foreign ministers met and decided to continue applying pressure on Iran after European Union leaders expressed the identical opinion in a meeting last week with American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Foreign Minister Livni, who met with Rice in Brussels during the NATO convention, welcomed the unified front, but instructed Israeli ambassadors and representatives throughout the world to expand the diplomatic struggle to impose additional sanctions on Iran.
The Foreign Ministry, it seems, fears Moscow and Beijing will use the NIE's findings as an excuse to veto any such sanctions on Iran in the Security Council, which is set to begin conducting on the issue Monday.