PMO: Early elections, Iran strike unconnected (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 05/06/12)
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The timing of early elections, expected to take place on September 4,
has nothing to do with Iran, sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu said on Saturday.
The Prime Minister’s Office’s said it does not comment on
speculation, however, a source close to Netanyahu told The Jerusalem
Post that Iran was not mentioned once during talks about whether and
when to dissolve the Knesset and hold an early vote.
The denial came in response to a theory floated by Channel 2 and
Yediot Aharonot analysts that the prime minister and Defense Minister
Ehud Barak plan to launch an attack and cut off the Islamic
Republic’s nuclear capabilities in the coming months.
According to Channel 2’s theory, Netanyahu plans to bomb Iran
immediately after the elections, when a transition government that
will include himself and Barak in their current positions will run
The reasoning behind such a decision would be that the results of the
vote – which polls show Netanyahu and the Likud winning with almost
twice as many votes as any other party – cannot be changed at that
point. In the US, presidential candidates would hesitate before
criticizing Israel so close to their election date.
The High Court has ruled in the past that transition governments may
not make major decisions, unless they are especially urgent.
However, Barak said in a Friday interview that “the diplomatic-
security system will make decisions if necessary.”
Iran and the early election are two separate issues, he added.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On criticized Netanyahu following the
reports, saying that a transition government does not have “the moral
authority or public legitimacy for such an operation.
“The thought to take advantage of the moment when mom and dad are not
home, while the president of the US is busy with elections and the
Knesset is not working, is childish,” Gal-on said. “Mom and dad will
come home, and the punishment will be severe.”
Another theory, in Yediot Aharonot, is that Netanyahu and Barak plan
to attack Iran shortly before the election, much like Likud founder
prime minister Menachem Begin did in Iraq in 1981. At the time, Begin
was faced with accusations that he timed the bombing in a way that
was advantageous to his campaign, but the then-prime minister said he
ordered the attack because it was best for Israel’s security at the
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich said that Netanyahu’s government
is “making a terrible mistake by turning the Iranian threat into the
central problem of Israel.” Iran should be presented as the whole
world’s problem, she explained in an interview with Channel 2’s Meet
the Press, and while “all options are on the table,” a military
strike should be the last option.
In addition, Yacimovich said Israel must be in complete coordination
with the US on the Iranian issue.
Daniel Clinton contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/06/12)
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