In recent weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held five secret discussions on the Iranian issue, in which it was decided to significantly raise the level of Israeli preparation and readiness for an attack on the nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic, Channel 12 News reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, Israel’s top defense officials participated in the discussions, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, the head of the Mossad, the head of the National Security Council, the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, the head of the Operations Directorate, as well as the operational ranks of the relevant units in the IDF.
The summaries of these meetings, from which messages were conveyed by Prime Minister Netanyahu to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and French President Emmanuel Macron, made it clear that if the world does not act against Iran - Israel will be forced to act and will not hesitate to do so.
Meanwhile, Israel in recent days has conveyed messages to Hamas and Hezbollah, noting that the fact that there is an "explosive" political situation in Israel does not mean that Israel is not militarily prepared for any possibility - and will react disproportionately to any attempt to harm it.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening, at the Hartog National Security Conference at the Setai Hotel in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, was interviewed by Prof. Walter Russell Mead, Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College, and the ‘Global View’ Columnist at The Wall Street Journal.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also participated in the conference.
In response to the question: What would the policy be on Iran, on the assumption that the US administration claims that the 2015 nuclear agreement is completely finished, and in light of reports that Iran has enriched its uranium to 84% just below nuclear level, Prime Minister Netanyahu replied:
"Ask a question. How do you stop a rogue nation from acquiring nuclear weapons? Let's see. I mean, there have been some examples, so we can maybe deduce a rule."
"You had one called Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It was stopped by military force, ours. You had a second one called Syria that tried to develop nuclear weapons. And it was stopped by a military action, ours. There was a third country, Muammar Gaddafi's Libya. It wanted to pursue nuclear weapons and it gave it up due to the threat of a military action, yours. There's a fourth country, North Korea, that sought to develop nuclear weapons, and wasn't challenged. And by the way, it is a signatory to the NPTs and all. It doesn't mean anything. They weren't stopped, because there was no threat of military action. And so they developed this capacity."
"Now we have Iran. Iran seeks to develop it. It was actually stopped for a year, in 2003, when they thought, right after the Gulf War, when they thought that you, America, would take action against them. So they stopped, then converted into a secret program, disguised by various civilian so-called research organizations. But they continued. And they've been stopped, or rather slowed down by various actions that we took and some sanctions that were applied.
"The only thing that has credibly stopped rogue nations from developing nuclear weapons is a credible military threat or a credible military action.
You can couple that with crippling economic sanctions, but that's not a sufficient condition. A necessary condition, and an often sufficient condition, is credible military action. The longer you wait, the harder that becomes. We've waited very long."
"I can tell you that I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That is not merely an Israeli interest; it's an American interest; it's in the interest of the entire world."