Israel’s Barak: Election Would Not Alter Iran Plans

The prospect of an immi­nent elec­tion in Israel will not affect its strat­e­gy for tack­ling Iran’s nuclear pro­gram, includ­ing plans for a pos­si­ble pre­emp­tive war, Defense Min­is­ter Ehud Barak said on Wednes­day.

 -
Click to enlarge

Rifts in Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s con­ser­v­a­tive coali­tion over mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion and bud­get cuts have prompt­ed par­ties to mobilise to bring for­ward the bal­lot to as ear­ly as Sep­tem­ber, a year ahead of sched­ule.

That has raised ques­tions about whether an Israeli strike on Iran­ian nuclear sites — long threat­ened, although viewed by some Netanyahu crit­ics as a bluff — might now be shelved due to gov­ern­ment reluc­tance to send poten­tial vot­ers to bomb shel­ters.

“Elec­tions will not affect delib­er­a­tions of the pro­fes­sion­al ech­e­lon in every­thing regard­ing the Iran­ian issue,” Barak said on his Face­book page, adding that Israel still saw mil­i­tary force as among “options on the table”.

Israel, reput­ed to have the region’s sole atom­ic arse­nal, has long said it would strike Iran to pre­vent it from get­ting nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear pro­gram is peace­ful.

The Unit­ed States and Euro­pean Union have sharply tight­ened eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on Iran this year, and have called on Israel to show restraint to give the new mea­sures a chance to bite. Wash­ing­ton says it too would be will­ing to strike Iran as a last resort, but the White House believes it is too ear­ly to give up on diplo­ma­cy.

Nuclear talks between major pow­ers and Iran, which broke down last year, restart­ed in Istan­bul on April 14 and are expect­ed to con­tin­ue lat­er this month in Bagh­dad.

Netanyahu’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, Yaakov Amidror, was tour­ing Euro­pean cap­i­tals this week to hear argu­ments in favor of the six world pow­ers’ nego­ti­a­tions with Iran.

“We are telling him (Amidror) that we need time,” a West­ern diplo­mat told Reuters, say­ing the goal was “ver­i­fi­able com­pli­ance” by Iran with nuclear anti-pro­lif­er­a­tion safe­guards.

Netanyahu and Barak have main­tained a con­tin­u­ous­ly hawk­ish stance in pub­lic towards Iran, but there are signs that the Israeli secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment may not be keen on war.

In a rare pub­lic rebuke on Fri­day, Netanyahu’s for­mer inter­nal secu­ri­ty chief accused the prime min­is­ter and Barak of hav­ing a “mes­sian­ic” pol­i­cy, and of over­stat­ing their bel­liger­ence.

“A bark­ing dog doesn’t bite,” Yuval Diskin said.

Sur­veys show Netanyahu’s Likud par­ty is like­ly to win the most seats in an elec­tion, but most Israelis would oppose going solo in an attack on Iran.

Israel could be vul­ner­a­ble to cross-bor­der mis­sile salvoes from Iran and its guer­ril­la allies in retal­i­a­tion for any strike. For­ti­fi­ca­tion dri­ves over­seen by its Civ­il Defense Min­istry have lagged, with the cur­rent min­is­ter, Matan Vil­nai, due to step down in August and no suc­ces­sor in sight.

This arti­cle is pub­lished with kind per­mis­sion of “Avi­a­tion Week & Space Tech­nol­o­gy

aviationweek

About AVIATION WEEK
Serv­ing over 1.2 mil­lion pro­fes­sion­als in 185 coun­tries, AVIATION WEEK is the largest infor­ma­tion and ser­vices provider to the glob­al com­mer­cial, defense, maintenance/repair/overhaul (MRO), space and busi­ness avi­a­tion com­mu­ni­ties and plays a crit­i­cal role in con­nect­ing indus­try pro­fes­sion­als world­wide. Anchored by its flag­ship Avi­a­tion Week & Space Tech­nol­o­gy, AVIATION WEEK con­tin­ues to grow and evolve its port­fo­lio to meet the needs of the indus­try.

With the devel­op­ments of high­er val­ue ana­lyt­i­cal tools — Avi­a­tion Week Intel­li­gence Net­work (AWIN), MRO Prospec­tor and Top Per­form­ing Com­pa­nies (TPC) — mar­kets and cus­tomers are empow­ered with the essen­tial data they need. AviationWeek.com, along with the events series, enable com­mu­ni­ties of buy­ers and sell­ers to con­nect more fre­quent­ly, pro­vid­ing mar­keters with new media oppor­tu­ni­ties. AVIATION WEEK con­tin­ues to expand in the defense sec­tor as well as in emerg­ing mar­kets includ­ing India, the Mid­dle East and Asia/Pacific.