Obama Offered Israel PM ‘Package Deal’ on Iran Attack; Netanyahu Hints Attack Just Months Away

A report in Ma’ariv Thursday said that U.S. President Baack H. Obama offered to give Israel advanced “bunker buster” missiles and long-range planes that could fly thousands of kilometers without refueling – if Israel agreed not to attack Iran during 2012.

Netanyahu and Obama at the White House this week
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Netanyahu and Obama at the White House this week

The report was based on discussions with diplomatic officials who were privy to the conversation Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had with Obama in Washington this week. The diplomats said that Obama had offered a “package deal,” whereby the U.S. would not seek to prevent an Israeli attack in 2013 – after the U.S. presidential election in November. That didn’t mean that the U.S. was giving Israel a “green light” for an attack; it was more like a “yellow light,” which perhaps could be interpreted as close to red than green, the diplomats said.

In tandem with the report, the Institute for Science and International Security, which works to reduce the threat of nuclear war, released an assessment Wednesday that Israel was unlikely to attack Iran during 2012.

Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Wednesday that Iran was hiding important information about its nuclear program. In an interview on CNN, to be broadcast later Thursday, Amano said that Iran is “not being open about its nuclear program. We demand that Iran speak to us of their own volition. Iran has some questions to answer,” he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set a general timetable for a possible strike on Iran Thursday evening, for the first time.

Netanyahu said that Israel has not yet made a decision on whether to attack the Iranian nuclear sites. He added that the timing of such a strike “is not a matter of days or weeks,” but on the other hand, “it is not a matter of years.”

“I am not standing with a stopwatch in my hand,” he told Channels 2 and 10 in a joint interview, upon his return from a five day visit to Canada and the United States.

Israel will be “glad” if Iran halts its nuclear program on its own. “I, too, will be happy,” he said. “I will be happy if the sanctions work – all the better. But we cannot know, and we will not accept a situation in which Iran has nuclear weapons.”

He warned that Israel faces “an existential danger,” and added: “If I do not make the right decision, there may be no one left to explain to [why I made the wrong choice].”

Source material can be found at this site.

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