The entire American intelligence community is convinced that Israel’s leadership has already decided in principle to attack Iran, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on Monday, quoting an unnamed senior American intelligence official. The attack will go ahead, the source was quoted as saying, unless there is a significant change in the Iranian nuclear program in the next few weeks or months.
Sources close Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the report as a case of “scare tactics” by those in the US administration who want to constrain Israel from contemplating an attack on Iran. Israeli reporters were briefed after Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama earlier Monday that the prime minister told the president that Israel had not made a decision regarding an attack on Iran.
The Channel 2 report claimed that the US and Israel are deeply at odds over the consequences of the purportedly planned Israeli attack. The Americans are warning that an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities will trigger a regional war and possibly even World War III. Their assessment is that the Arab states will join the war against Israel, under pressure from the Arab “street.”
The Americans foresee a scenario in which Israel would be attacked with thousands of missiles, causing thousands of fatalities, the report continued. Ben-Gurion Airport would shut down and the stock market would crash, causing a critical blow to the Israeli economy. They further envisage a regional nuclear arms race involving countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the Channel 2 report added.
The Israeli public is unaware of the catastrophic consequences of a decision to attack, the report quoted the unnamed senior American official as saying. “It’s tantamount to suicide,” he was said to have warned.
In response, Channel 2 reported, sources in the prime minister’s circle dismissed the ostensible nightmare scenario as being part of an American effort to constrain Israel from making any decision to attack. The comments should be taken with a grain of salt, they indicated.