Israel believes agreement reached on Iran’s nuclear program presents an existential threat
March 20, 2014
Despite what is characterized as substantive progress in talks between Iran, the United States, and the European Union on Iran’s nuclear program, the state of Israel has announced it is allocating in excess of 10 billion shekels for war preparations.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz cites three members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, who say between 10 and 12 billion shekels, or between $2.89 and $3.47 billion, has been set aside for the attack on Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli military to prepare for the attack, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Some members of the Knesset question whether the allocation has to do with progress between Iran and six Western nations and an agreement reached last November. The IDF said it had “received a clear directive from government officials from the political echelon – meaning Netanyahu and Ya’alon – to continue readying for a possible independent strike by Israel on the Iranian nuclear sites, regardless of the talks now happening between Iran and the West,” according to the three Knesset members.
Rhetoric from the Netanyahu government has escalated as talks on the Iranian program near a final accord. During the AIPAC conference in the United States earlier this month, Netanyahu said Israel is prepared to strike Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities. “My friends, I believe that letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates,” he said. “That must not happen. And we will make sure it does not happen.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said during a speech recently that Israel reserves the right to strike Iran and may do so if an accord is reached.
“We think that the United States should be the one leading the campaign against Iran. But the U.S. has entered talks with them and unfortunately, in the haggling in the Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better,” Ya’alon said. “Therefore, on this matter, we have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”