The U.S. has allegedly offered Israel advanced weapons such as bunker-busting bombs and refueling planes in exchange for an agreement to postpone an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities until 2013, according to a report by the Maariv Israeli News Service.
President Obama reportedly made the offer on Monday during Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington.
The White House has denied that any such agreement was proposed or reached.
Obama has said that he prefers a diplomatic solution— involving crippling sanctions already imposed and international pressure— to resolve the crisis over Iran’s possible pursuit of nuclear weapons and that a decision was not necessary within the next weeks or months.
Israel would need all the help they can get to attack Iran’s highly fortified nuclear facilities.
Their planes would have to fly over 1,000 miles (one-way), refuel in the air, fight off air defenses in Syria (if they take that route) as well as in Iran, and attack at least four underground sites with about 100 planes.
Israel would probably use around 100 F-15 attack bombers, each armed with a single laser-guided bunker buster bomb, and F-16s as escorts. However, Israel is reported to have only 30 bunker bombs at the moment.
On Tuesday the news service Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, reported that Netanyahu requested that the U.S to approve the sale of advanced refueling aircraft as well as GBU-28 bunker-piercing bombs during a meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
They cited a top U.S. official who said that Obama instructed Panetta to work directly with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the matter.