In case you thought that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's recent visit to Israel succeeded in reassuring the Netanyahu government of American resolve to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, think again. According to YNetNews, the online English news service of Yedioth Acharonot, Israel's highest circulation daily newspaper, Israeli government officials are dismayed at how the Obama Administration has backed off its previous red line regarding Iranian nuclear development, calling the current American position on what would justify a military strike against Iran "a wretched red line."
According to Yedioth Acharonot, the US would only be prepared to carry out a strike against Iran in 18 months, when a "critical threshold" was crossed, and was resolutely against an Israeli strike. As a red line, that is simply too late, the Israeli officials argued:
"The US' stance is pushing the Iranians to become a country at the brink (of nuclear capability)," explained sources well versed in the nuclear issue. "The Americans are de facto allowing the Iranians to continue to enrich uranium and become a country at the brink. We are not prepared to allow that (to happen)."
"The Americans say that the ayatollahs' decision to construct a bomb is the red line," the officials noted, adding: "It's a wretched red line. Who knows when they'll decide and what they'll decide."
Is it any wonder that Governor Romney made such a positive impression on the Israeli public on his recent visit? Israelis know that to hold back the military option until one is sure that Iran can construct a bomb may mean that one has waited too long. By then Iran may have already smuggled a nuclear warhead into Tel Aviv--or Los Angeles.