The international community is not doing enough to stop Iran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting.
He said the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran "confirms what we have been saying for some time — while the international sanctions are indeed making things difficult for the Iranian economy, they are not delaying the progress of the Iranian nuclear project."
"The Iranians are using the talks with the major powers to gain time in order to advance their nuclear project. I believe that the truth must be told — the international community is not setting Iran a clear red line and Iran does not see international determination to stop its nuclear project,” Netanyahu said. "Until Iran sees a clear red line and such determination, it will not stop the progress of its nuclear project — and Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons."
Meanwhile, former Kadima MK Tzachi Hanegbi, a Netanyahu confidant, made similar statements earlier Sunday when he told Israel Radio that it appeared the U.S. would not step up to attack Iran "and we will have to rely on ourselves."
Hanegbi, who previously served as head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the Kadima party and is reportedly on his way back into the Likud, said the recent IAEA report showed, despite claims to the contrary, that time was running out as Iran is making rapid advances in its nuclear program and continues enriching uranium to high levels.
Speaking at a city hall meeting in northern Israel a day earlier, Hanegbi said that U.S. President Barack Obama had yet to present a credible military threat that could deter Iran from seeking nuclear weapons.
"I don't see that there is a credible threat for American action; the rhetoric of the U.S. president is too vague, very amorphous ... I don't see that (Obama's words) will be translated into more tangible intentions and therefore this is probably why the Iranians don't take it seriously, they speak out against it and they dismiss it," Hanegbi said.
He stressed that a forthright U.S. military threat was the most effective way to stop Iran.
"If there will not be a credible threat of military action, there probably won't be another way to persuade the Iranians to stop their nuclear program. The most credible threat is the American threat, the American ability and its might are far more worrisome for the Iranians than Israel's," Hanegbi said.
But he added that Israeli action could also be effective in causing Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment ambitions.
"Is the Israeli threat credible? I am not able ... to tell the Iranians about our capabilities but the fact that I am talking about it shows that I do not think it is unrealistic," Hanegbi said.
In his interview with Israel Radio on Sunday, the former MK, who quit the opposition Kadima party in July to join up with Likud and Netanyahu, said that Washington does not oppose an Israeli strike on Iran and that the disputes between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations were overblown.
He added that tensions between the two countries and statements last week by U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey opposing an Israeli attack stem from Washington's concern ahead of the U.S. presidential elections that an Israeli strike would hurt the chances of one of the candidates to become president.
In a different tone, former Supreme Court Justice Eliyahu Winograd, who headed a committee which investigated mistakes made during the Second Lebanon War, spoke out against a possible unilateral attack on Iran, saying Sunday that it could "endanger the future of Israel."
In a special interview with Army Radio, Winograd expressed concern over whether Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak had followed lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War, as presented in the Winograd Committee's report.
"I am not convinced that the decision-makers ... who now need to decide whether to attack Iran, will implement the findings of that report," he said. "If that is the case, we are all in big trouble."
In a harsh criticism of Netanyahu and Barak, Winograd said, "You're going to endanger our entire country, everything we have built. Both the country physically and its economy."
Responding to what Barak predicted would be the number of lives lost in an Iranian counter-attack against Israel, Wingorad said, "No more than 500 dead? Did you count them? How do you know? ... I do not know what [Netanyahu and Barak's] considerations are, but this is irresponsibility to the first degree."
In response to Winograd's comments, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said, "I am astonished by the honorable judge, who apparently forgot that a nuclear Iran which has threatened to destroy Israel is a much greater danger to the future of the country. Even if the U.S. decided to lead an attack on Iran, we would, unfortunately, still be hit with missiles, as happened during the war in Iraq."