RAMALLAH, November 13 (JMCC) - Amid heightened speculation in Israel that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is planning a military strike on Iran, the Telegraph
has published a report
that Israeli officials recently declined to promise the US that it would not act against Iran without checking with Washington.
Some experts have scoffed at the idea that Israel would strike Iran, saying that it wouldn't dare do so without US acquiescence.
But according to the UK paper, when US defense secretary Leon Panetta visited Tel Aviv last month, his request for a promise to coordinate was rebuffed.
Officially, his brief was restricted to the Middle East peace process, but the most important part of his mission was a private meeting with Mr Netanyahu and the defence minister, Ehud Barak. Once all but a handful of trusted staff had left the room, Mr Panetta conveyed an urgent message from Barack Obama. The president, Mr Panetta said, wanted an unshakable guarantee that Israel would not carry out a unilateral military strike against Iran's nuclear installations without first seeking Washington's clearance.
The two Israelis were notably evasive in their response, according to sources both in Israel and the United States.
They did not suggest that military action was being planned or was imminent, but neither did they give any assurances that Israel would first seek Washington's permission, or even inform the White House in advance that a mission was underway, one said.
Israel says it is concerned about the prospect that Iran is on its way to developing a nuclear bomb. Israel itself is believed to have numerous nuclear weapons, but has never publicly acknowledged the capability.