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PM Netanyahu Photo: Emil Salman
PM Netanyahu Photo: Emil Salman
 
 

Outcome the ultimate test

Op-ed: In second term, Netanyahu failed to achieve most important goal of stopping Iran's nuclear program

Shimon Shiffer
Published: 01.15.13, 00:50 / Israel Opinion

In the argument over the NIS 11 billion the Netanyahu government spent on the preparations for an attack in Iran without American assistance, one must focus solely on the facts.

 

Forget Ehud Olmert's claim that Netanyahu wasted the money on "hallucinatory escapades that haven’t, and won’t, come to fruition.” Let's also disregard the response of Netanyahu, who boasted on Israel Radio that his government mobilized the world's nations to impose economic sanctions on Iran and built “independent capabilities” against the Islamic Republic. In any case, it can be said with a high degree of certainty that in the four years of his second term the prime minister failed to achieve the most important goal he set for himself: To halt Iran's efforts to equip itself with nuclear weapons.

Butting Heads
Netanyahu, Olmert at loggerheads / Ynet
Prime minister fires back after Olmert accuses him of spending NIS 11 billion on ' hallucinatory escapades that will never be realized'. Not one shekel was wasted, Bibi says
Full story

 

According to reports released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, in the beginning of Netanyahu's second term one could get the impression that Iran was very far from enriching quality uranium in significant amounts. Now, however, it appears that the ayatollah regime is very close to building its first bomb. Actually, it is claimed that the decision on whether to build the bomb is dependent solely on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

 

Moreover, it has been claimed that over the past four years Iran succeeded in constructing fortified and impenetrable installations which contain the equipment used to enrich the uranium needed to produce a nuclear bomb – a bomb that will change the regional and international reality.

 

Netanyahu mentioned this week his efforts to mobilize countries to impose sanctions against Iran. Really? The prime minister thought we had forgotten that he used to claim that sanctions were ineffective and that the only way to stop Iran was to launch an Israeli attack that would lift the existential threat on the Jewish state and prevent a disaster. So let's stick to the facts: Netanyahu equated the Holocaust to a nuclear Iran and doubted our ability to survive in the event that Tehran produces nuclear weapons. The panic he created, it was argued, led to the withdrawal of billions of shekels that were deposited in Israel and to a surge in the number of Israelis applying for foreign passports.

 

In addition, Netanyahu and Barak spoke of an attack in October or November of last year, before Iran reaches the "zone of immunity" from an attack. The attack was not launched, and the Iranians can continue laughing until the next IAEA report, which will inform us that they have completed their nuclear project.

 

Meanwhile in America, Obama was elected to a second term and has recently selected as his next defense secretary Chuck Hagel, who is known for his staunch opposition to an attack on Iran and to resolving conflicts militarily. And so, following the elections Netanyahu is expected to find himself facing the cold shoulder of a hostile administration and the need to leave Iran alone and tackle the Palestinian issue.

 

It is safe to assume that the answers provided by officials in the Prime Minister's Office to the attacks by former security establishment heads Yuval Diskin and Meir Dagan will not satisfy the heads if the inquiry commission that will be established in the future to examine the decision-making process vis-à-vis the Iranian issue.

 

 

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