BENJAMIN Netanyahu has warned Iran that Israeli bomber planes “can reach anywhere in the Middle East”.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s warning comes on the heels of an Iranian claim that if it is targeted by an American strike “only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan”.
Netanyahu visited an IDF F-35 squadron, and standing by a plane, said: “I see all of our weapons systems and planes. Here behind me is the ‘Adir’, the F-35. Recently, Iran has been threatening the destruction of Israel. It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria.”
Netanyahu spoke just after Iran threatened to push further ahead with its violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with the West. Iran’s already enriched uranium stockpile has just passed the 300 kilograms allowed under the deal, and it has now threatened to restart centrifuges and to increase the purity of its uranium to 20 per cent.
Netanyahu responded to the nuclear moves by telling his cabinet, “Iran has violated its solemn promise under the UN Security Council not to enrich uranium beyond a certain level. The enrichment of uranium is made for one reason and one reason only: It’s for the creation of atomic bombs.”
He said that Western leaders who back the nuclear deal “promised and committed themselves to snap back sanctions the minute Iran did that”, and said: “Where are you?”
European leaders started discussing their response this week, acknowledging that Iran is acting in a way that is “inconsistent” with the deal.
Developments with Iran have dominated the political conversation in Israel this week, muffling what former prime minster Ehud Barak hoped would be the headline-grabbing announcement of his new party’s name.
He is calling the party Democratic Israel, because, it is “the moment before the dismantling of Israeli democracy”. Barak claims that Netanyahu is endangering Israeli democracy, and wants to join with other left-wing factions to unseat him.
Despite Barak’s high hopes for the September election, a new poll by the Israeli Democracy Institute found that only seven per cent of Jewish Israelis want him to lead the country. Some 23 per cent want Benny Gantz, while Netanyahu is still in the lead, with 45 per cent wanting him as PM. Among Arabs, Gantz is first choice with 31 per cent support, Barak gets 20 per cent and Netanyahu receives only five per cent.
Another poll, released on Tuesday by the Kan broadcaster, suggested that the September election could end, like the April one, without a clear winner, as Likud and the Blue and White part are currently tied and neither the left wing nor the right wing would have a majority in Knesset.