Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly distancing Israel from the Soleimani assassination, warning ministers to ‘stay out’ of the purely ‘American event’
Netanyahu, a staunch ally of US President Donald Trump, warned his cabinet not to get too involved in the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, in an attempt to avoid Tel Aviv getting dragged into the escalating conflict between Washington and Tehran.
He told his security cabinet on Monday “The assassination of Soleimani isn’t an Israeli event but an American event. We were not involved and should not be dragged into it,” according toy Israel’s Channel 13.
RT reports: He advised ministers to avoid speaking to the media about Thursday’s targeted assassination beyond supporting the US’ right to defend itself, so as not to give the impression that Israel had played any role in it.
The directors of Mossad and military intelligence reassured the ministers that the likelihood of a retaliatory attack is low, since “Israel stayed at a distance from the incident,” and that Iran will begin planning its reciprocal move on Tuesday following the conclusion of the national mourning period for Soleimani, according to the same sources.
Netanyahu’s sudden reticence is particularly notable because he has been advocating a US-Iran conflict for much of his political career. For over 20 years, he has insisted that the Islamic Republic was just steps away from producing nuclear weapons, even when Israeli intelligence publicly argued otherwise.
The Israeli PM was also front and center in the run-up to the most recent Iraq War, warning the US Congress in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” – including pursuing atomic bombs – which turned out not to exist at all.
Just last year, Netanyahu was urging the US and its Middle Eastern allies to take up the cause of war against Iran, emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal and re-impose crippling sanctions against Tehran, despite its compliance with the agreement.
However, the overt US killing of a military commander who was apparently very popular in Iran has provoked serious talk of retribution, not just in Tehran, but among Hezbollah – the Lebanese Shia militia that boasts of fighting Israel to a draw in 2006 – as well.