Daily Israel Report

'Netanyahu and Barak Haven't Yet Decided on Iran Strike'

Israel’s former national security adviser tells The New York Times: Netanyahu and Barak may still be dissuaded from attacking Iran.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/16/2012, 7:35 AM

Uzi Dayan
Uzi Dayan
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have not yet decided to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and could be dissuaded from a strike, Israel’s former national security adviser Uzi Dayan told The New York Times on Wednesday.

Dayan added that Netanyahu and Barak could be dissuaded from attacking Iran if President Obama approved stricter sanctions and publicly confirmed his willingness to use military force.

“There is a window of opportunity,” Dayan said. “This window is closing, but if the United States would be much clearer and stronger about the sanctions on one hand and about what can happen if Iran won’t make a U-turn — there is not a lot of time, but there is still time to make a difference.”

Dayan told The New York Times he spent more than an hour each with Netanyahu and Barak at their homes on Monday. He was being considered for the post of Home Front Defense Minister, which he turned down, and therefore extensively discussed with the two leaders the security threats that Israel is facing, particularly from Iran.

Dayan added that Netanyahu and Barak would prefer that the United States led any attack, even if that meant waiting until after the November presidential election. But “they have to make the decision whether to strike or not before November,” he said, so they need to hear from Obama “in the coming two weeks, in the coming month.”

“I’ve known them a very long time,” said Dayan. “They will make such a decision of striking only if they feel that there is no other way. They will do it only as the last, last thing, but then they will be pretty determined about it.”

The comments come amid continued speculation that Israel is close to striking in Iran. Some have speculated that such an attack by Israel could likely occur in September or October.

On Wednesday, American blogger Richard Silverstein published what he claimed is an Israeli briefing document outlining Israel’s war plans against Iran.

Silverstein said the document was passed to him by a high-level Israeli source who received it from an IDF officer. According to the document, the Israeli attack on Iran will begin with a coordinated strike including an unprecedented cyber-attack and then Iran will be hit with a barrage of tens of ballistic missiles.

On Monday, the daily newspaper Maariv reported that Israel has received assurances from the Obama administration, as well as the camp of Republican presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, that the United States will join a war against Iran on Israel's side, if such a war breaks out.

On Tuesday, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta attempted to play down a possible Israeli attack in Iran.

Dempsey told reporters that he believes an attack by Israel “can delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities,” while Panetta said he did not believe that Israel has made a decision regarding an attack on Iran.