The U.S. administration is denying reports by a Middle Eastern news outlet that President Obama has threatened to have U.S. forces shoot down Israeli fighter jets attempting to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported that following the revelation that the U.S. is secretly negotiating an agreement with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s (then) chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.”
According to “well placed" sources cited by the report, an unnamed Israeli minister later revealed the Israeli attack plan to U.S. Secretary John Kerry, and that Obama subsequently issued a threat that he would foil any aerial attack on Iranian nuclear targets by Israel jets. This threat deterred Netanyahu from actually dispatching the warplanes.
However, in a statement to the Washington Times on Sunday, a senior administration denied the allegation, saying that the “report is totally false.”
Also on Sunday, Kerry spoke on the ABC News program “The Week.” Though he did not address these allegations, he said that “Israel is safer today, and that is the standard that we will apply to any agreement going forward. It is to guarantee that we will know that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon under the procedure that we’re putting in place.”
It’s noteworthy, however, that the idea of shooting down Israeli jets in such a scenario was proposed in the past by former U.S. diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski. As the Israel National News explained, Brzesinski, who had campaigned for Obama in 2008 and served as national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, told the Daily Beast in 2009 that “they have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?”
Meanwhile, just last week, the Israeli Channel 2 reported that Saudi Arabia will allow Israel to use its airspace to attack Iran in exchange for “some kind of progress” on the conflict with the Palestinians.
“The Saudis have declared their readiness for the Israeli Air Force to overfly Saudi air space en route to attack Iran if an attack is necessary,” the channel stated. “The Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran.”