President Barack Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli planes in 2014 if they were sent to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, according to reports attributed to a Kuwaiti newspaper.
According to the website Israel National News,
the Bethlehem-based news agency Ma'an cites Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.
Al-Jarida reports that the alleged threat from the White House forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the planned attack.
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An Israeli minister on good relations with the Obama administration reportedly tipped Secretary of State John Kerry to the plan and that Obama vowed to shoot down the planes when they crossed over U.S.-controlled airspace in Iraq.
Al-Jarida quoted "well-placed" sources saying that Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon and then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the plans for airstrikes after consulting top commanders.
In addition to the attacks, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to try to thwart any nuclear deal between the United States and Iran over fears that a nuclear Iran is a threat to Israel's existence, the newspaper said.
Israeli pilots reportedly trained for weeks on the mission and even were able to fly into Iranian airspace without being detected by radar.
Israel's fears of nuclear attack are not new. In 2007, an Israeli airstrike took out a suspected nuclear site in Syria. A 1981 airstrike took out a suspected nuclear reactor in Iraq.
Israel National News quoted a Daily Beast interview from 2009
in which former President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski urged Obama to take on any threat to Iran from Israel.
"They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?" Brzezinski said. "We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not."
Brzezinski even suggested, "No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse."
That was an allusion to an incident in the 1967 Six Day War in which Israeli jets and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty in international waters. Israel later called the attack an incident of "friendly fire."
Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday over the Iranian nuclear threat. Most Democrats have said they will not attend and Obama has said he will not meet with the prime minister since the talk will occur two weeks from Israeli elections.
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