Senators Back Netanyahu in Pentagon Row

February 24, 2012  

US Senator John McCain backed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week in a growing divergence of views with Washington on how to confront Iran’s nuclear program.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu charged that US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey was “unwilling to aid Israel” in ensuring Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu added that Dempsey’s assertion a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be “destabilizing” for peace talks and “not prudent” for America’s efforts “served the Iranians.”

Dempsey added that a US-led attack would not resolve the matter and said that an immediate strike “wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives.”

Siding with Netanyahu, McCain told reporters in Jerusalem “There should be no daylight between America and Israel in our assessment of the [Iranian] threat.”

“Unfortunately there clearly is some,” added the Senator.

McCain’s remarks came only hours after the he met with Netanyahu, who just previously charged Dempsey with “serving the Iranians.”

McCain added differences between Washington and Jerusalem over Iran has caused “significant tension,” adding, “there is very little doubt that Iran has so far been undeterred to get nuclear weapons.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, travelling in the region with McCain, told reporters “obviously it’s not helpful if there is a well-publicized tension between the US and Israel. We would like to see the United States and Israel agree on course of action that will lead us toward a goal we both share.”

“People are giving Israel a lot of advice here lately from America,” Graham said. “I just want to tell our Israeli friends that my advice to you is never lose control of your destiny.”

“Never allow a situation to develop that would destroy the Jewish state,” he added.

The International Atomic Energy Association published a 13-page report in November 2011 charging Iran with seeking nuclear technology of a military nation and systemically obstructing international inspectors.

The report, citing intelligence reports from ten different member states, buttressed charges from Israel, the United States, its Western allies, and Gulf Arab nations that Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.

US President Barack Obama has publicly backed sanctions and diplomacy while shying away from a military strike, leading Israeli officials to charge he is “hesitant” to take decisive action.

Israeli officials, however, have said that when they say “all options are on the table” they mean it and that should Iran approach the “immunity zone” they will not hesitate to act.”

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