Addressing the disagreements between senior political and security officials regarding the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "I've yet to reach a decision. The political echelon (makes the decisions), while the military echelon carries them out."
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"In the Israeli democracy, and in any other democracy, it is the political echelon that determines policy. The military echelon implements this policy. I've yet to reach a decision," he said, while mentioning that the security establishment was against late prime minister Menachem Begin's decision to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
Netanyahu said the regime in Tehran was seeking nuclear capabilities in order to "annihilate us, and is not concealing its intention to use nuclear weapons. I believe they must be prevented from doing so – I won’t let it happen."
Addressing the new tax hikes and budget cuts approved by the Cabinet on Monday, Netanyahu said, "I don’t like to raise taxes," but added that the move was crucial in safeguarding the economy. He rejected the claim that the new measures would hurt the poor. "In Europe (the situation is much more difficult)," he told Channel 10.
Earlier, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said "all options are on the table" regarding Iran.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with new recruits at the army induction base in Tel Hashomer, Gantz said "Iran is continuing with its efforts to achieve nuclear capabilities. This is a severe global and regional problem and we should not ignore it, because (Iran) is the only country in the world that is developing nuclear weapons while calling to annihilate another country."
The Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Tuesday that senior American officials arriving in Israel, such as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, are expected to convey a clear message that a unilateral Israeli attack in Iran will not be tolerated.
According to the report, Panetta will present Israeli officials with an operational plan of action the Pentagon is devising to neutralize the Iranian regime, but only in about a year and a half.