Tel Aviv — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Israel this evening for talks aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation and dimming the daylight that still separates the two nations in their action plans for Iran and other countries in the region.
As the Pentagon chief dined in Jerusalem with his host, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israeli television networks aired interviews with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing military action, if necessary, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“I will not allow this to happen,” Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 10.
While Netanyahu praised international attention to the Iranian threat, he told Channel 2 that years of diplomacy and sanctions “have not set back the Iranian [nuclear] program one millimeter.”
The Israeli premier insisted he has not yet decided whether or not to attack Iran, but made it clear that Israel will act in its sovereign interests and cannot “entrust its fate” to others.
Earlier in the day, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Gantz, Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, denied local reports that he opposed a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran. Speaking July 31 at a military base near here, Gantz told conscripts, “Not one of those reports were based on my words or those who speak on my