Israel declared that international talks with Iran on its nuclear programme had failed as it demanded a deadline of "just a few weeks" be handed down to Tehran to scrap its atomic build-up.It emerged that new intelligence shared with Israel by the West indicated that Iran had moved several steps closer to developing a nuclear warhead that could be fitted on the Shahab-3 missile.According to an unidentified official, new intelligence obtained by Israel, the United States and other Western states shows that Iran's development of a nuclear weapon is progressing far beyond the scope reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency.Tehran has made significant progress towards assembling a nuclear warhead for a Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of nearly 1,000 miles, putting the whole of Israel, including the Dimona nuclear reactor in the southern Negev desert, within the Islamic republic's range. Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, called on the Western powers to declare that the negotiations with Iran, conducted by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, had failed.Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, issued a public warning that Tehran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb. "Every threat against the home front is dwarfed by one threat. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.In a further sign that Israel is stepping up preparation for a possible showdown with Iran, the army's home front command sent out thousands of text messages in a test run of a programme to alert people when rocket attacks are launched on specific areas.
At its present rate of enrichment, Iran will have 250 kilograms of 20-percent grade uranium, exactly enough to build its first nuclear bomb, in roughly six weeks, and two-to- four bombs by early 2013Since 20 percent refined uranium is a short jump to weapons grade fuel, Iran will have the capability and materials for building an operational nuclear bomb by approximately October 1.Netanyahu’s comment at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday: “All threats against the home front are dwarfed by one – Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear arms!” – was prompted by that deadline.But the Middle East has a way of catching up with and rushing past slow-moving politicians:
Sunday, at 10:00 a.m. Netanyahu warned his ministers that no threat was worse than a nuclear Iran. At 17:55 p.m., Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi dropped a bombshell in Cairo. In one fell swoop, he smashed the Egyptian military clique ruling the country for decades, sacked the Supreme Military Council running Egypt since March 2011 and cut the generals off from their business empire by appropriating the defense ministry and military industry.That fateful eight hours-less-five-minutes have forced Israel’s leaders to take a second look at their plans for Iran
Netanyahu now faces one of the hardest dilemmas of his political career - whether to go forward with the Iran operation, which calls for mustering all Israel’s military and defense capabilities – especially for the repercussions, after being suddenly confronted with unforeseen security challenges on its southwestern border, for thirty years a frontier of peace.
The exceptional talents of Netanyahu and Barak to put off strategic decisions until they are overtaken by events has landed Israel in an especially perilous plight, surrounded now by a soon-to-be nuclear-armed Iran from the east; threatened Syrian chemical warfare from the north and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt to its south.
Israel’s Channel 2 News – the most widely watched television news show in Israel – is quoting sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who say he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have “almost finally” made their decision to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.Last week, Netanyahu said in the wake of the terrorist attack in the Sinai: “When it comes to the security of the citizens of Israel, the State of Israel must and can rely only on itself. Nobody can fulfill this role other than the IDF and the security services of the State of Israel and this is how we will continue to act.”
The IDF is gearing for the possibility of an armed conflict on several fronts and has decided to boost the munitions and supply reserves in a large number of military bases across Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The Friday report said that the IDF plans to store tens of thousands of rations and non-classified ordnances in private locations nationwide, as the location of the major bases is knownand they may be targeted by enemy rockets.
Technology and Logistics Directorate Chief Maj.-Gen. Kobi Barak has also issued a special tender for private companies, to use their warehouses for military storage purposes.The IDF also plans to use the facilities of several civilian defense contractors for its purposes.
The government on Sunday approved amendments to its protocol which expand Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's powers in an unprecedented manner in the backdrop of the Iran strike debate. Under the new protocol, the prime minister will have the power to delay motions passed by ministerial committees and the option to decide government voting orders.
The prime minister's bureau explained that the move is meant to "improve governance." In effect, the amendments mean that Netanyahu would be able to easily secure a majority for fateful decisions.
The new protocol will grant the PM virtually unprecedented power. The PM will be able to restrict voting to present participants only, thus ending the practice of voting in absentia. Only ministers on overseas trips who appointed replacements will be able to vote in absentia.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu addressed the Iranian threat at the weekly cabinet meeting. "All of the threats on the home front shrink in the face of another threat – Iran cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons," he said.
A nationwide SMS system for warning the public of an imminent missile attack was being tested in Israel on Sunday as new intelligence on a possible strike on Iran was leaked.With front page stories in two papers suggesting Tehran had made progress towards the manufacture and assembly of a nuclear warhead, Israel's Home Front Command began final tests of a public warning system which is expected to be operational by September.The idea is that the SMS system could be used to warn the population of an imminent missile attack by Iran or Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, which could become a reality if Israel decides to mount a pre-emptive military strike on nuclear facilities in Iran.
In recent days, talk of a possible strike on Iran has dominated the headlines, largely coming from unsourced officials quoting intelligence reports, none of which it was possible to verify.
"Iran has made progress toward nuclear warhead," was the headline in the Haaretz newspaper.