Defense Minister Benny Gantz briefed 60 foreign ambassadors on the security situation today (Wednesday), addressing the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, the Iranian nuclear issue, Lebanon, and the situation in Judea and Samaria.
“Iran has an intention to destroy Israel, and it is working to have the means to do so,” the defense minister stated during the briefing. “In addition, it operates through its branches in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, uses UAVs and precision missiles, works against merchant ships. At sea and even cyber-attacks all around the world. According to Israeli estimations, the attack on Mercer Street occurred on Iranian land, with the sanction, presumably, of the Supreme Leader.
Gantz detailed the Iranian defense budget rise, which has more than doubled in five years, from $22 billion to $49 billion (according to the real value of the real currency).
Gantz said that Israel has no conflict with the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people. And that he is troubled by the fact that representatives of the international community have come to Raisi’s inaugural, “the executioner from Tehran.”
Referring to the Iranian nuclear issue, Gantz added, “Iran is two months away from amassing the material necessary to build a nuclear weapon. We do not know whether the Iranian regime is ready to reach an agreement and return to the negotiating table and the world must build ‘Plan B’ and halt its progress now. The target is to reach a longer, stronger, and broader agreement.”
Iran’s arrival at a nuclear threshold puts us on the brink of a regional and possibly global nuclear arms race. All Iranian aggression so far has been without nuclear capability. If Iran gains the ability to penetrate the nucleus, it will expand its hostility.
Israel has options; we have demonstrated an ability to employ the measures at our disposal in the past, and I do not rule out the possibility that we will have to do so again in the future. But Iran is first and foremost a challenge to the world that needs to unite and act. “
The defense minister made also the remarks in the wake of recent increases in tensions along the border. In Gaza strip, Palestinian terror groups have started incendiary balloon attacks and violent border riots, the latest of which is scheduled for later today.
Gantz said Wednesday that a long-term peace with Hamas is conditional on the repatriation of Israelis kept captive in Gaza for years.
Israel has long maintained that it can proceed with peace negotiations only if it makes progress in recovering the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were kidnapped by Hamas during the 2014 Gaza war, as well as Avera Mangistau and Hisham al-Saeed, two civilians who entered the enclave separately.
“The requirements for a long-term agreement with Hamas are the return of the boys to their homes and a promise to complete quiet in the south of the country,” Gantz said.
Israel offered assistance to Lebanon three times
Ganz stated the following about Lebanon: “Thousands of homes have missile stores in the midst of the civilian population. Iran and Hezbollah are exploiting the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon to impede the establishment of a stable administration. And that Israel is willing to accept aid from other countries from its territory.”