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Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli jets flying over Iran in planned attack

Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu was not the coward the Obama administration wants to portray him as, in 2014 Netanyahu was prepared to attack Iran until President Barack Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli fighter jets, Feb. 28, 2015
Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu was not the coward the Obama administration wants to portray him as, in 2014 Netanyahu was prepared to attack Iran until President Barack Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli fighter jets, Feb. 28, 2015
Amos Ben Gershom GPO

With all the talk that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming joint address to Congress is threatening United States-Israeli Relations a new revelation from 2014 might explain the reasons behind President Barack Obama's administration and the Democrats reaction to the speech, why Netanyahu has to deliver his message, and why the speech has nothing to do with the disintegration of diplomatic ties. News reports from Kuwaiti news source Al-Jarida on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 indicated that Netanyahu was planning to attack Iran in 2014, when one of his cabinet ministers told US Secretary of State John Kerry, the whole plan fell apart with Obama threatening to strike down any Israeli jet than flies over Iranian airspace. The Arabic paper Al-Jarida claims their information comes from "well-placed" sources.

Right after Israel found out that the US had been secretly negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran for months and was prepared to sign an agreement, Netanyahu decided to preemptively attack Iran. Netanyahu was planning a strategic attack against Iran to wipe out their nuclear weapons facilities with his cabinet and Israel Defense Forces (IDF), including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and IDF chief Benny Gantz. IDF fighter jet pilots supposedly trained for weeks, and the preparations were that advanced with Israel going on trial missions with fighter jets making runs into Iran undetected.

According to the news source in Arabic, "Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army's 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." Netanyahu would have kept his threat to attack Iran, unlike criticism after that painted him as a coward for not following through, if one of his cabinet members would not have been a tattletale and go running to Kerry blabbing about the top-secret plans. According to an Israeli source, Liberman told on Netanyahu.

In retaliation, President Obama threatened to shoot down any Israeli fighter plan going over Iranian airspace. Obama consulted a supporter and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski under Jimmy Carter's administration (1977-1981) who gave Obama the idea to shoot down any Israeli planes. Brzezinski, who is notoriously anti-Israel in his views, explained, "They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? We have to be serious about denying them that right. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a 'Liberty' in reverse.'" Brzezinski referred to the American ship Israel "mistakenly" shot at during the 1967 Six-Day War. Netanyahu could not take a risk with his military and decided to cancel his attack plans. The incident was the key incident in the strained relationship; everything afterwards has been a response to the break in "good" relations between the two governments.

Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.