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."

 

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down

IS ‘executed’ 116 suspected of Syria regime collaboration

Israel arrests 51 Palestinians for ‘terror-related’ crimes

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

UNICEF says 1,100 children malnourished in Syria’s Ghouta

UN says Yemen children in desperate need of aid

Orthodox Jews block Jerusalem entrance in protest

Six terror suspects arrested in Morocco

EU announces 106 million euros in aid for Sudan

French judges to rule on whether 'Jihad' is acceptable name

Saudi Aramco chief confirms IPO despite doubts

Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

Sudan editor convicted after Bashirs accused of graft

Russia’s Lavrov urges Iraq-Kurd dialogue

Kurds to arrest 11 Iraqis in response to similar Baghdad move

Car bomb attack kills 9 in south Yemen military base

Rouhani boasts about Iran’s greatness in region

Iraq unrest highlights long-standing political divisions

Bahrain temporarily frees female activist

Egypt court sentences 11 people to death for 'terrorism'

Israel police arrest 15 over anti Jewish-Arab dating campaign

Tillerson woos Gulf allies to curb Iran influence

Abadi, Sadr meet in Jordan

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

Gulf share values plummet

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike