Talks between the world powers and Iran notwithstanding, Israel appears to be preparing for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities as indicated by a specific military budget item of $3 billion, reports Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.
The budgeting details were revealed during Knesset joint committee sessions on Israel Defense Forces plans. Three Knesset members who were present during the hearings but asked to remain anonymous said that the funding was to cover preparations throughout 2014 for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
According to the report, Knesset members at the sessions grilled ranking IDF officials about the necessity of a strike plan despite ongoing talks between world powers and Iran. Those talks led to an initial agreement in November 2013 for Tehran to minimally scale back its nuclear program, but are viewed skeptically by many, especially in Israel.
The IDF officials reported that they had instructions from the highest government levels–presumably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon–to continue with preparations for a strike.
Netanyahu has publicly denounced the November interim deal as a “historic mistake” failing to require the full dismantling of Iran’s military nuclear capabilities.
Earlier this week, Ya’alon indicated a change from his previous stance that Israel should avoid unilateral action against Iran’s nuclear program. “The one who should lead the campaign against Iran is the US,” he said, but instead, “the US at a certain stage began negotiating with them, and unfortunately in the Persian bazaar the Iranians were better,” he said. Therefore, “we [Israelis] have to look out for ourselves.”