Rice cable confirms Israel destroyed Syrian reactor

A confidential memo from Condoleezza Rice to State Department representatives around the world confirmed that Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor, a cable leaked to WikiLeaks says.

The cable, which has not yet been published, was reported by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Acharonot before its official publication on the website.

The document sent was sent on April 25, 2008, by Rice, then secretary of state. It read, in part, “On September 6, 2007, Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor Syria was clandestinely constructing, we judge with North Korean assistance.”

The cable includes detailed information about the attack and is the first official confirmation of the attack, Yediot reported.

“I want to inform you that the purpose of that Israeli mission was to destroy a clandestine nuclear reactor that Syria was constructing in its eastern desert near a place we call al-Kibar,” Rice wrote. “The Israeli mission was successful – the reactor was damaged beyond repair. Syria has completed efforts to clean up the site and destroy evidence of what was really there, constructing a new building on the old site.”

The document confirms that Israel and the United States collaborated on intelligence for the mission. “The US intelligence community conducted an intensive, months-long effort to confirm and corroborate the information Israel provided us on the reactor and to gather more details from our own sources and methods,” Rice wrote.

Israel has never confirmed nor denied its involvement in the strike. Syria denies that the site was a nuclear reactor, calling it instead a military installation.

WikiLeaks to release more Israel cables

WikiLeaks will release sensitive leaked diplomatic cables regarding Israel in the coming months, its founder said.

Julian Assange told Al-Jazeera Wednesday that his website will release top secret letters dealing with the 2006 Second Lebanon war, the assassination of a high-level Palestinian official in Dubai suspected to have been carried out by the Mossad, and other Israel-related cables.

Assange claims to have about 3,700 files related to Israel, most from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.

He reportedly told Al-Jazeera that few documents involving Israel have so far been published because the newspapers to which he gave exclusive rights to publish the cables were unwilling to publish sensitive information about Israel.

He said he was certain that Israeli intelligence is currently monitoring WikiLeaks closely and denied that there was a deal between Israel and WikiLeaks to keep information on Israel private.

Leaked document: Netanyahu backed land swaps

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United States in early 2009 that he supported land swaps in a peace agreement with the Palestinians, a leaked document shows.

Netanyahu also said in the meeting with a delegation of U.S. officials in Israel two weeks after Israel’s last national election that Israel does not want to control Gaza and the West Bank, according to a WikiLeaks cable released Monday.

The document, sent Feb. 26, 2009 from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, reported that Netanyahu presented his “economic peace” doctrine, which he said would prop up the Palestinian Authority in its fight against radical Islam.

In response to the document, the Prime Minister’s Office issued an official response saying that Netanyahu intended to show that he was willing to make territorial compromises in the framework of a peace treaty. 

“This is the public policy of Netanyahu, this is policy today and it was his policy during his February 2009 meeting,” the statement said. “Any other interpretation isn’t correct and doesn’t represent the prime minister’s stance.”

The WikiLeaks website, which publishes classified documents from anonymous sources and leaks, released about 250,000 secret diplomatic cables Sunday.