Netanyahu sought to provoke, not attack, Iran in 2010

Yossi Melman writes: Sometime in 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with their top five cabinet ministers for a routine yet secret meeting to discuss pressing security and foreign-policy issues. The group, which has no legal status and does not have the authority to make decisions,​ is known as the “Secret Seven,” inspired by the “Secret Seven” series of adventure novels for children by the British author Enid Blyton.

Also present at that meeting (the date of which Israeli censors do not allow to be specified) were Israel’s security chiefs, including then-Mossad director Meir Dagan, Chief of the General Staff Major-General Gabi Ashkenazi and a few others.

Minutes before that meeting ended, Netanyahu turned to the chief of staff, General Ashkenazi, and told him to “set the systems for P-plus,” a term meaning to swiftly increase the preparedness of the military in case of a war with Iran. The measures to be taken in such a situation could include moving military units, strengthening intelligence capabilities and preparing the home front for a war.

The 2010 incident was reported earlier this week in the opening of a new season of “Uvda” (“fact” in Hebrew), a flagship program of Channel 2, Israel’s largest commercial and privately owned TV station.

The story hit Israeli headlines and reverberated in major Middle Eastern and Western media outlets. The prime minister’s words two years ago are now interpreted by the Israeli and international media as an order for the military to begin the countdown to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But the truth of what happened, which went farther than that particular meeting involving Netanyahu, Barak and their top military and security echelon, is much more complex and intriguing than the way it was broadcast and understood.

The truth is that Netanyahu and Barak did not order the military to plan a direct, all-out attack on Iran. Their true intention was to trigger a chain of events which would create tension and provoke Iran, and eventually could have led to a war that might drag in the United States. [Continue reading…]

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