Barak: Netanyahu was ready to bomb Iran in 2010, 2011

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak both wanted to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010 and 2011, but other Israeli leaders blocked the move, Barak said.

The retired Labor politician, who was prime minister from 1999 to 2001, revealed the formerly classified information in recordings that aired on Israel’s Channel 2 Friday night, the Times of Israel reported.

Barak attempted to prevent the broadcast of the recordings, which are apparently related to a forthcoming biography of him, but Israel’s military censors approved their release.

In the recordings, Barak said he and Netanyahu wanted to order an Israel Air Force attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi stopped them in 2010, saying the Israel Defense Forces was not prepared. Later, Barak said, Moshe Yaalon, now the defense minister, and Yuval Steinitz, then finance minister and now the minister of energy, objected.

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Barak and Netanyahu both hoped to strike before Iran’s nuclear facilities were more heavily protected and before they had developed far enough that an attack would be ineffective over the long term, Barak said in the recordings.

In 2011, when Barak and Netanyahu again sought a strike, the heads of Mossad, Shin Bet and Military Intelligence opposed the move, as did Yaalon and Steinitz, Barak said.

Also in the recordings, Barak criticized Yaalon and Steinitz for using hawkish rhetoric on Iran given that they previously prevented military strikes against the Islamic Republic.

Both Steinitz and Ya’alon declined to comment on the recordings, according to the Times of Israel.

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