Pundit: US concerned Israel will strike Iran without prior coordination

AuthorIsrael National News
Published date06 March 2023
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
In a column he published on Sunday, Ben-Yishai wrote that the concerns brought the US to send to Israel, at short notice, the two most senior figures in the Pentagon - the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense - for clarification and coordination talks with senior officials of the Israeli defense establishment and with the senior political figures in Jerusalem

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, landed in Israel on Friday and met with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday of this week.

The reason for the visits, according to a senior member of Israel's defense establishment who was quoted in Ben-Yishai's column, is that the White House and the Pentagon fear that the current Israeli government will surprise the United States by striking Iran and dragging Washington into a military conflict in the Middle East, while the United States and its allies are investing most of their resources in the Ukraine war and in the escalation of the "cold" conflict with China.

From an American point of view, noted Ben-Yishai, the situation now is similar to the one that prevailed between 2010 and 2012, when Barack Obama was President of the United States, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak planned to attack Iran.

The visits of the US officials follow the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) discovery of uranium enriched to 84% purity at the underground plant in Fordow.

Ben-Yishai noted that the element of time is the critical element that has gone wrong in the Israeli-American "security work plan", which was designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, as a result of the IAEA revelation.

If, until now, Jerusalem and Washington estimated that Israel has more than a year to complete preparations for a major attack in Iran and a war in other arenas that will develop in its wake, the assessment in Israel now is that the timetable will be significantly reduced.

Ben-Yishai outlines four issues which will be at the center of the meetings between the visiting top US officials and their Israeli counterparts:

The first - how the two countries can jointly deter Iran from enriching uranium to the 90% level which would be...

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