Four papers discuss Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current trip to the US and the Iranian nuclear threat:
The Jerusalem Post insists that both the US and Israel agree that “all means – including military intervention – should be used to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear.” The editor believes that “If Iran were to attain nuclear weapons, its inimical influence in the region would be amplified exponentially,” and concludes: “Stopping Iran’s mullahs through whatever means necessary is a cardinal interest of the US, the Middle East and the entire civilized world. It’s not just about Israel.”
Yediot Aharonot says that "The main dispute between Obama and Netanyahu was about timetables," and adds that "Netanyahu made it clear that from Israel’s point-of-view, the clock is ticking," because "As soon as Iran conceals its nuclear installations, Israel will be unable to attack them because it lacks the appropriate equipment." The author notes that while the Prime Minister refused to accede to the President’s request to allow more time for sanctions and diplomacy to work, the former nevertheless reassured the latter that" The decision to attack has not yet been made." The paper suggests that "Obama promised Netanyahu that if he waits now and trusts him, then on the fateful day, Obama will take military action against Iran," and adds that "An Israeli Prime Minister could not have hoped to receive a more credible commitment from an American President." The author believes that President Obama succeeded in buying time and! declares that "This was the most encouraging thing that Netanyahu left behind him at the White House yesterday."
Ma’ariv suggests that "Obama and Netanyahu are in an interesting and strange situation. They are playing poker against the Iranians, but also against each other. Obama knows that Netanyahu cannot give up the threat to attack because it is the only card he has. Netanyahu knows that Obama will not give him a green light to attack because it would cancel his diplomatic efforts and transfer the initiative to an arena that he has no control over. Obama does not want to promise Netanyahu a future American attack and does not want to give guarantees that such an attack will take place." The author adds: "And in any case, what guarantees could he give? As soon as Israel’s window of opportunity closes, the American President could change his mind and renege on his promises on the grounds that circumstances have changed," and reminds his readers that "In the 1950’s, the US promised Israel that it would maintain freedom of navigation ! in the Straits of Tiran, but in the 1960’s, it became clear that the promise would not be upheld."
Yisrael Hayom contends that "Until yesterday’s meeting, we knew that the US did not want an attack. Now it arises that Israel has yet to make a decision. Could it be that the biggest winner from the meeting was Khamenei? Washington gained time. Let us hope that Tehran does not gain a bomb."
Haaretz examines the state comptroller’s report on the Harpaz affair, and states that it “presents a chilling and disturbing picture of the conduct of the leaders of Israel’s defense establishment.” According to the editor, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi campaigned against his superior, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, who, in turn, did not supervise the army on behalf of the government, as he was obliged to do by law. Noting that the comptroller’s findings recall the 1954 Lavon Affair that involved intrigues by the army against a minister who also had trouble controlling his subordinates, the editor warns: “More than 50 years have passed, and Israel’s defense establishment still suffers from the same ills.” The editor continues: “Even after the rot was exposed, the establishment hasn’t learned a thing. The comptroller’s report, combined with the testimony of ousted National Security Advisor Uzi Arad regarding the goings-on i! n Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau, reveals that Israel’s security has been entrusted to a gang of amateurish intriguers.”
[Orly Azoulay, Shmuel Rosner and Boaz Bismout wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]