War cabinet yet to decide on response to Iran’s attack; Gantz reportedly wanted to hit back last night

File - The Israeli war cabinet and top security officials meet in Tel Aviv on April 14, hours after Iran's missile and drone attack on Israel. (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)
File - The Israeli war cabinet and top security officials meet in Tel Aviv on April 14, hours after Iran's missile and drone attack on Israel. (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)

After several hours of discussion, Israel’s war cabinet has yet to decide on how and when to respond Iran’s missile and drone attack.

Ministers have suspended their discussions without a decision, Channel 12 news reports, though they are expected to reconvene in the near future.

According to multiple Hebrew media reports, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz and his National Unity party colleague Gadi Eisenkot, an observer in the war cabinet, both proposed striking back at Iran even as the Iranian attack was underway last night.

This suggestion was firmly opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief Herzi Halevi, and others, Channel 12 news reports, in part because of the strain of undertaking simultaneous action when the IAF was focused on intercepting Iran’s incoming missiles and drones.

The Prime Minister’s Office denies this, saying “the opposite was true.” Channel 12 says it stands by the story, saying it was confirmed by four sources.

Subsequently, when the success of Israel’s air defense systems was evident and it was clear that the Iranian onslaught had caused little damage, and after US President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu, the idea of an immediate Israeli response was set aside, both Channels 12 and 13 report.

In an unsourced report, Channel 12 claims that the US has not sought to veto any Israeli response, but that it has told Israel it needs to know in advance, and be coordinated, on any such reaction. The US has publicly made clear that it will not participate in any Israel response.

Channel 12 further claims that Israel is trying to ascertain whether, in return for restraint, it can attain some kind of “strategic pact” with the US against Iran, without having to make commitments on matters such as the Palestinian issue.

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