Netanyahu 'wasted $3bn' on imaginary Iran war plan, accuses former Israeli PM

Netanyahu 'wasted $3bn' on imaginary Iran war plan, accuses former Israeli PM

Tel Aviv : Israel | Jan 13, 2013 at 6:14 AM PST
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Outspoken Olmert: former Israeli PM hits out at Netanyahu over peace process

In a case reminiscent of former US president George Bush waging war on Iraq over a fictitious nuclear bomb, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has similarly been accused of wasting nearly $3 billion preparing for an imaginary war on Iran by the former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.

However, the very fact the current Israeli PM wasted taxpayers money on unnecessary defense projects relating to Iran, suffering a “security delirium,” clearly underlines how seriously he was contemplating launching an attack on the Islamic Republic two years ago.

Meanwhile, Olmert has slammed the Netanyahu for squandering the money over what he termed “harebrained adventures that haven’t, and won’t, come to fruition.”

Olmert’s charges against Netanyahu come even as the latter continues to promise to keep Iran on top of his agenda if he is re-elected prime minister in general elections scheduled for later this month.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News, the ex-PM said: "In the last two years, 11bn shekels [$2.9bn] were spent on operations which were not and will not be carried out ….We are dealing with expenditures that go above and beyond multi-year budgets.”

According to Olmert, that money was spent on “security delirium.” He added that "the projects won't be carried out now because 2012 was the decisive year." Charging the Netanyahu government with false propaganda, Olmert said: “They scared the world for a year and in the end didn’t do anything.”

The ex-Israeli PM was referring to Netanyahu’s unrelenting campaign to lead the world into action against Iran's nuclear weapons program, including pressure to tighten sanctions on Iran and threatening military strikes in order to derail its alleged uranium enrichment drive.

Olmert also seemed to back the claims made by Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet or Security Services, that Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak discussed launching an attack on Iran over alcohol and cigars.

According to Olmert, if a responsible person like Diskin, known for his integrity during all his years of public service, “reaches the conclusion that the Israeli public must know what's going on when their fates are being decided on, it is vital that he does so.”

Just last week, Diskin accused Netanyahu of selfishly putting his own interests before the State’s and toying with the country’s security.

"Bibi [Netanyahu] wants to go down in history as the person who did something on this size and scale. I have heard him belittle what his predecessors have done and assert that his mission on Iran is on a much grander scale," Yuval Diskin told Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

Meanwhile, Olmert’s criticisms were staunchly rebutted by both Netanyahu and Barak. Reacting to the claims in an interview with Israel Army Radio, which was aired today, Netanyahu called the former PM’s criticism “a bizarre, irresponsible thing to say,” reported Israel National News.

Netanyahu also elucidated: “We’ve done a lot to strengthen the Israel Defense Forces, Mossad and Shin Bet [the Israeli Security Service] in various ways.” Further, the Israeli premier said he was not going into details of their security expenses.

"Israel must do all it can to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This was and will remain my number one task as prime minister, and whoever does not understand that it's the most serious threat to Israel cannot lead Israel," he added.

Sources: Times of Israel / Guardian / /

Other reports on Israel, Iran and US:

Iran increasingly sending military aid to Syria: says US Official

Netanyahu threatens to strike Iran before 'it's too late' to act

Iran deployed huge number of new missile launchers, says reports

If US chooses ‘war,’ Iran could close Strait of Hormuz - warns Iranian diplomat

Iran beefing up cyber warfare capabilities after Stuxnet, warns top US General

Is Iran producing a potent nuclear bomb? Leaked PC diagram raises doubts

Pro-Iran group hacks IAEA site, demands probe into Israeli nukes

Israeli DM: Iran’s uranium use for civilian purposes, ‘delays’ war by 8 months

Iran warns US after targeting Predator drone for airspace violation

Israel, Iran hold ‘positive and respectful’ nuclear talks at Brussels

Israel’s PM Netanyahu had ordered military strike on Iran in 2010

Iran suspends its uranium enrichment, then backtracks: Commentary

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Speaking at the ninth annual Saban Forum in Washington DC former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert has said that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is not dedicated to peace in a realistic way and that the primary responsibility of every Israeli government is to seek peace with the Palestinians.
Nina Rai is based in Mangaluru, Karnataka, India, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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