Did Israel Rule Out a Strike on Iran? (Updated)

According to a Wikileaks document, Israel ruled out in 2005 attacking the Iranian nuclear program. Ha'aretz:

In the first telegram, sent on December 2, 2005, American diplomats said their conversations with Israeli officials indicate that there is no chance of a military attack being carried out on Iran. A more detailed telegram was sent in January 2006, summing up a meeting between U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman (a Democrat for New York ) and Dr. Ariel Levite, then deputy chief of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission.

In that cable, Levite is quoted as telling Ackerman that it would be too difficult for Israel to attack Iran's dispersed nuclear facilities.

In reference to these documents, Lara Friedman, the "director of policy and government relations" with Americans for Peace Now, tweeted:" Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive: Israel ruled out military option on Iran years ago (so what about that Goldberg spin?)"

Two questions for Friedman:
1) Does she believe that Israeli defense officials always tell the truth to American officials about their operational planning?
2) Does she believe that Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not prime minister in 2005, has actually ruled out a military strike against Iran?

If she answers "yes" to either of these questions, then she is far more naive about Israeli operations and intentions than one would expect a Peace Now official to be.

UPDATE: Lara Friedman has a long and an indignant response here.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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