Aides to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu launched a stinging rebuke to the country’s president, Shimon Peres, after he said that Israel should not act alone in launching military action against Iran’s nuclear programme.
“Shimon Peres forgets what the role of the president of Israel is,” officials from Netanyahu’s office were quoted in the Israeli media as saying. The aides offered examples from the past when they said Peres’s judgment had been wrong.
The row is a stark example of the sharp differences at the heart of Israel’s political, military and intelligence establishment over the merits and dangers of an early unilateral military strike on Iran. Speculation has intensified recently that Netanyahu and defence minister Ehud Barak are considering launching action this autumn, before the US presidential election.
In an interview on Israeli television, Peres said: “It is clear to us we cannot do it on our own. We can only delay [Iran's progress]. Thus it’s clear to us that we need to go together with America. There are questions of cooperation and timetables, but as severe as the danger is, at least this time we’re not alone.”