Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WikiLeaks / Netanyahu urged Olmert to initiate Israeli attack on Iran

(Haaretz would not 'allow' the publication of the full cables) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed willingness to join Ehud Olmert's government in 2007 if Israel initiated an attack on Iran, a document from the Israeli WikiLeaks collection has revealed.

On July 20, 2007, Marc J. Sievers, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, sent a telegram to the State Department in Washington on the matter. The telegram was classified "Confidential," the level between "Unclassified" and "Secret."

Sievers' message dealt with the formation of a new Israeli government and was written on the eve of the release of the state comptroller's report on the Second Lebanon War, a year after it started. Ehud Olmert was still prime minister and headed the Kadima party. The Labor Party was his senior partner in the ruling coalition. Two days before Sievers sent his message, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, the head of Labor, resigned as defense minister and deputy prime minister.

Part of the telegram was devoted to the possibility of the establishment of a national unity government, in which the Likud Party would join Kadima, with Olmert as prime minister.
"The adviser commented that the possibility of a national unity government, bruited in the press, is a possibility, but only if Olmert initiated such a move in order to galvanize Israel for action against Iran. He said that in such a scenario, Netanyahu would probably accept an offer of the Foreign Ministry".
This was the second time Netanyahu expressed willingness to support the prime minister if he initiated an attack against Iran. In the summer of 2005, Netanyahu resigned as finance minister in Ariel Sharon's cabinet over the Gaza disengagement plan. In December that year, Sharon left the Likud and founded Kadima. At the time, Netanyahu told Sharon he would "support him if he acted against Iran before the elections," reported Aluf Benn in Haaretz two years ago.