First Published: 2012-02-06

 

Netanyahu warns Israeli officials: Stop Iran blabber

 

Israeli PM directs instruction at number of military officials, ministers who he believes have been speaking too freely about potential Israeli attack on Iran.

 

Middle East Online

'The chit-chat puts Israel on the front line'

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned his officials to stop "blabbing" about the possibility of an attack targeting Iran's nuclear programme, the newspaper Maariv reported on Monday.

Netanyahu is said to have directed the instruction at a number of military officials and government ministers who he believes have been speaking too freely about a potential Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The newspaper, citing unnamed senior officials, said Netanyahu delivered the warning during a meeting with ministers from his Likud party on Sunday.

"Stop blabbing, already," he reportedly told the officials. "This chit-chat causes huge damage, puts Israel on the front line, and damages sanctions" imposed by the United States and Europe on Iran, the premier reportedly said.

Maariv's sources said there was concern that Israel "might be perceived as dragging the US into a war with Iran against its will and endangering the US's national interests."

The warning came after several statements by senior Israeli military and political officials last week, including Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, who suggested that all Iran's nuclear sites were vulnerable to attack.

"In my military experience, any site protected by humans can be penetrated by humans," he said during the annual Herzliya security conference. "At the end of the day all their sites can be hit."

Speculation has risen in recent weeks, driven in part by comments made by Israeli officials, about the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran.

Israel and much of the international community believes that Iran's nuclear programme masks a covert weapons drive, a charge Tehran denies.

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East's only, albeit undeclared, nuclear power, has supported tough sanctions against Iran, but also insisted it retains the option of a military strike to halt its nuclear activities.

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama appeared to try to dampen speculation about such an attack, which reports suggest Washington would oppose.

"I don't think Israel has made a decision" to hit Iranian facilities, he told American network NBC.

Obama said Iran was "feeling the pinch" of ever tougher sanctions imposed by the international community, and dismissed concerns that Tehran could retaliate by striking US soil, saying such a strike was unlikely.

"I've been very clear -- we're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating a nuclear arms race in a volatile region," he said.

He added: "Again, our goal is to resolve this diplomatically. That would be preferable. We're not going to take options off the table, though."

 

Lebanon protesters to government: Meet our demands of face escalation

Algeria detains former intelligence chief

Two French journalists charged with bid to blackmail Morocco King

Eni discovers ‘supergiant’ gas field inside Egypt territorial waters

In historic first, Saudi Arabia allows women to run in local elections

Deadly fire at housing complex of Aramco in Saudi Arabia

Israel repels protesters with tear gas at separation barrier in West Bank

ISIS brutality in Syria: Over 90 people executed in one month

Bashir to visit China despite international arrest warrant

Egypt summons British envoy in row over Al-Jazeera trial

Yemen war seeks to stop ‘Iran expansion’ in Arab region

Calls for action on refugee crisis mount after Austrian tragedy

Kuwait lawmaker describes Iran as 'true enemy' of Gulf Arabs

Kurdish forces free seven Iraq villages from clasps of ISIS

Toll in Libya shipwreck tragedy rises to 111

Egypt court hands Al-Jazeera reporters three years in prison

UN to host new round of Libya peace talks next week

US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

Mounting death toll of security forces triggers questions in Turkey

Deadly terrorist blast rocks Karanah suburb in Bahrain

Brief truce between Syria regime and rebels collapses

Al-Qaeda lashes 10 in Yemen for blasphemy, alcohol

Turkey PM to form cabinet ahead of November polls

Iraq PM orders forces to prepare to open Green Zone

71 'Syrians' dead in Austria truck tragedy

UN conference on plight of minorities persecuted by IS

Spain judge accuses suspect of running IS Morocco network

Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters

Israel to use agriculture to win friends in Africa

Syrian refugees desert Middle East for Europe

At least 76 die as boat sinks off Libya

UN pursues Syria chemical weapons probe

US says IS cyber jihadist killed in Syria strike

Iran premieres big-budget epic film 'Muhammad'

S.Sudan govt calls peace deal 'reward for rebellion'

Serbia, Macedonia urge EU action on migrants

South Sudan peace deal given cautious welcome

Two Iraqi generals in Anbar suicide bomb attack

IS seizes five villages from rebels in Syria's Aleppo

Syria regime, rebels agree new 48-hour truce for three towns

Shebab gunmen ambush Somali army convoy

Iraq PM plans to implement constitutional reform

Muslims not doing enough to fight IS: Queen Rania

Lebanon charges radical Islamist Al-Assir with 'terrorism'

Qaeda group blows up Yemen army HQ in Mukalla