Former Netanyahu deputy warns of "disastrous" Iran attack
Published Saturday, August 18, 2012
A former deputy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday a preemptive military strike against Iran over its nuclear program could embroil Israel in a "disastrous war."
Shaul Mofaz, a parliamentary opposition leader who quit Netanyahu's cabinet last month where he served as vice premier, said on Israeli television he thought Israel was "planning a hasty, irresponsible event."
The former general and defense minister said he thought Israel could not do anything to force a strategic change in Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at producing atomic weapons.
Tehran says it is for peaceful purposes and highlights Western silence over Israel, which maintains the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal.
As a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet for two months, Mofaz was privy to deliberations on Iran's nuclear program.
He told Channel 2 television in a studio interview that any Israeli military action "can at the most delay it (Iran's program) by about a year, and it can bring upon us a disastrous war."
Naming both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, he said he was "very worried at what they are preparing."
He added: "I hope very much we don't reach such a war because it would be a disaster."
Days after he quit the cabinet late in July in a dispute about military conscription policy, Mofaz, who heads the Kadima party, cautioned he would not back any Israeli military "adventures."
His comments echoed those of other former Israeli security officials who have spoken against any unilateral attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, with some saying such an assault could spur Tehran to speed up uranium enrichment.
There has been an upsurge in rhetoric from Israeli politicians this month suggesting Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities ahead of US presidential elections in November.
Netanyahu is frustrated that the US has refused to back an attack and has been pushing for Western support for a bombing campaign.