The office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday night quickly calmed the fears of U.S. President Barack Obama that Israel is planning to attack Iran without coordinating with the United States. The reassurance, reported on Voice of Israel government radio, was attributed to unnamed aides in the Prime Minister’s office.
Israeli media early Thursday ran screaming headlines about the American fears although virtually none of the foreign media mentioned the issue.
Phillip Weiss, a long-time foe of the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, wrote on his Mondoweiss blog Thursday, “The Israeli press seems to be on the edge of its seat in the buildup to the meeting, and is expecting the worst. Each day Israeli newspapers are full of prognosticators and politicians reading Obama White House tea leaves, making dire predictions and giving urgent advice for the Prime Minister.”
Israeli media referred to several election campaign proclamations by the Prime Minister that all means must be taken to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. However, both Labor party chairman Ehud Barak and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni made similar statements.
Senior American leaders also have said that the “military option” is not off the table if diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions do not convince Iran to halt its nuclear development without international supervision and guarantees.
National Security Council head Uzi Arad, the Prime Minister’s special envoy Yitzchak Molcho, and head of the strategic communication wing Ron Dermer are en route to Washington to prepare for next week’s meeting between the Israeli and American leaders.
They will meet with President Obama’s Middle East chief, Dan Shapiro, who recently returned from Syria after talks on the possibility of renewing direct negotiations between Damascus and Washington.