Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Mark Israel Sellem

Ministers: Stop Iran strike 'chatter'

Weekly cabinet meeting becomes heated when Minister Michael Eitan slams ex-Mossad chief, calls on ministers, public servants to refrain from making public statements about possible strike on Iran. France: Military strike to destabilize region

Reports of a possible strike in Iran and progress in Tehran's nuclear program continued to dominate the political agenda in Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting.


Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan slammed the chairman of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee MK Shaul Mofaz who criticized the cabinet members. "I believe all this chatter gravely damaged the State of Israel," Erdan said.


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"Obviously we do not want to inflate the debate. When I read statements such as those made by Shaul Mofaz I wonder whether he remembers that in the 2008 Kadima primaries he said an attack on Iran was unavoidable and caused a major hike in oil rates around the world.


"Now he suddenly opposes a strike. Anyone responsible should keep silent and let the decision makers run things."


Minister Michael Eitan called on his fellow ministers and other officials to cease making public statements on the matter. "The law restricts public servants who are privy to information pertaining to state security and this applies in this case too," he said.


He criticized former Mossad chief Meir Dagan who also addressed the matter publically saying that ex-public servants must remain silent too. "I do not believe the necessary measure of caution was maintained."


Nevertheless, Eitan noted that the public discourse was legitimate. "Opinions are allowed to be expressed in a democracy," he said.  


'Totally destabilizing situation'

Military attacks on Iran's nuclear program could create a "totally destabilizing" situation in the region, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Sunday, saying France would instead harden sanctions.


"We can still strengthen them (sanctions) to put pressure on Iran and we are going to continue along this path because a military intervention could create a totally destabilizing situation in the region," Juppe told Europe 1 radio.


"We must do everything to avoid the irreparable," he said.


Last week, President Nicolas Sarkozy criticized what he called Iran's "obsessional desire" to develop nuclear weapons and said France would not stand idly by if Israel were threatened.


Western powers suspect Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and have imposed sanctions in an attempt to curb its program. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and says its atom program is for power generation.




פרסום ראשון: 11.06.11, 12:07
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