Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi HanegbiIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Coalition Chairman MK Tzahi Hanegbi, the longtime chair of the Knesset key Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, made clear Tuesday that Israel will not attack Iran's nuclear installations if Iran does not cheat on the deal it has agreed to with the P5+1 powers.

Asked on TV Channel 1 whether Israel has a credible military option regarding the Iranian nuclear program, even if the US opposes such an action, Hanegbi noted that Israel attacked Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 and did so despite US opposition and the freezing of F-16 shipments to Israel in its aftermath. 

"In other words,” he said, “our ability is independent and is not dependent on the whims of this leader or another – if it is relevant. As I said, in the coming years this is not a relevant option because the agreement... postpones for some time – about a decade – Iran's nuclearization, if they do not cheat. And we know that this entire program is based on fraud and deceit that the world is now accepting.”

The anchorwoman, Geula Even-Sa'ar, wanted to make sure she had understood Hanegbi correctly and said: "It's interesting that you said that the military option is not relevant as long as the agreement is respected.”

Hanegbi nodded in agreement.

The statement by Hanegbi, who – as the veteran chair of the Knesset's key committee on strategic and military matters, is well aware of Israel's capabilities and intentions – appears to undercut any threat of military action hinted at by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier in the day.