Never interrupt the United States when it’s in the middle of surrendering to Iran.
U.S. officials told the Israeli government to stop commenting about the Mossad operation that targeted the Natanz nuclear facility last weekend because it was embarrassing the U.S. at the talks to revive the nuclear deal in Vienna.
Washington has conveyed to Israel in no uncertain terms that the “chatter” about its alleged involvement in the blast at the Natanz nuclear facility early this week must stop, warning that it is dangerous and detrimental as well as embarrassing to the Biden administration as it attempts to negotiate a return to the nuclear deal with Tehran, Channel 12 news reported Friday.
The unsourced report said the message was conveyed to Jerusalem through several channels in recent days.
I’m sure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said something like, “Yessir, Mr. President. We’ll get right on that.” In fact, Netanyahu is probably tickled about making the Biden administration uncomfortable while also tweaking Iran’s nose in the international press.
The network further cited unnamed Israeli security officials expressing concern at the uncharacteristic degree to which Israel has allowed itself to be tied to the attack on the nuclear site. The officials questioned whether the increased bluster was an attempt to affect nuclear negotiations in Vienna, or perhaps an effort by the prime minister to use Iran for internal political gain.
Indeed, the government’s leaks to Israeli media are unprecedented in scope. To see a Mossad operation unpacked in such detail is shockingly unheard of. But the detailed analysis of how the operation was carried out points to some kind of political motive.
Gantz was also asked if he harbored any concerns that Netanyahu, whose office directly controls the Mossad, was acting not out of national security considerations but out of his own political interests, raising the specter of war in order to pressure potential allies into joining his government coalition.
“I think the prime minister has extensive experience in the political-diplomatic field and I wouldn’t belittle that. I think that all other considerations must be removed, and I hope that is what he is doing,” Gantz said.
Defense officials are calling for a probe into the leaks since they appear to be coming from civilian sources in the prime minister’s office. Regardless of where they’re coming from, there is a faction in the Israeli government that sees publicizing the operation as damaging their relations with the U.S.
But Netanyahu may see that as a lesser evil than Iran getting the bomb.