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."

 

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Looming showdown between Egypt’s president, judges

Netanyahu says will discuss peace efforts with Trump

Bahrain sentences Shiite cleric to suspended jail term

Trump scandals no issue for Saudi says minister

Saudi women celebrate easing of guardianship system, call for more freedoms

Hamas sentences three to death for commander assassination

Rouhani faces fight with hardliners in US, Iran after election win

Trump to urge Muslim leaders to fight extremism in major speech

Trump tells Sisi he will soon visit Egypt

US, Saudi agree arms deals worth almost $110 billion

Iran's Rouhani wins re-election

Egypt marks MS804 crash with ceremony and no information

Trump lands in Riyadh on first foreign tour

IS bombing kills 35 in Iraq

US Pentagon plans to 'annihilate' IS

Dictator's nephew apologises to Tunisia for corruption

Trump heads to Saudi Arabia as domestic scandals mount

Ebrahim Raisi: hardline challenger in Iran

US and Saudi Arabia blacklist Hezbollah 'terrorist'

UN envoy slams deadly attack in Libya's south

Syria, allies condemn attack by US-led coalition

Iranians vote to choose their president

Festive mood as Iranians flock to polls

Turkey takes aim at opposition journalists in continuing crackdown

Syria talks enter final day as tensions simmer over coalition strike

Hassan Rouhani: moderate cleric open to the world

Sweden drops probe against Julian Assange

EU's Juncker, Tusk to meet Turkey's Erdogan Thursday in Brussels

Nearly 23,500 Yemen cholera cases in three weeks

Israel arrests 2 after deadly West Bank clash

Sudan's Bashir to skip Trump-Muslim summit for 'personal reasons'

Saudi looks to assert regional leadership against Iran

Syrian warring sides agree to new UN process on constitution

US-led warplanes hit Syria pro-regime forces