The international community should use “military force” if Iran develops nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told the United Nations on Thursday, reaffirming support for the creation of a “peaceful” Palestinian state.
Israel has waged an intense diplomatic offensive in recent months to persuade the US and key European countries such as Britain, France and Germany not to renew the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Over the past 10 days, several officials have suggested that the deal – which was scrapped by then-US President Donald Trump in 2018 – could not be extended until at least mid-November, a deadline the Lapps have tried to use to push the West to sign it. impose a tougher approach to negotiations.
“The only way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to put a credible military threat on the table,” Lapid said in a speech to the UN General Assembly.
Only then can a “longer and stronger deal with them” be negotiated.
“It must be made clear to Iran that if it advances its nuclear program, the world will not respond with words, but with military force,” he added.
And he made no secret that Israel itself would be ready to intervene if it felt threatened.
“We’ll do whatever it takes,” he said. “Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”
On the podium of the General Assembly, Lapid accused Tehran’s leadership of conducting an “orchestra of hate” against Jews and said that Iranian ideologues “hate and kill Muslims who think differently, like Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini, the woman whose death after her arrest has sparked widespread protests there over Iran’s moral policies.”
Israel, which considers Iran its archenemy, also accuses Tehran of funding armed movements, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas.
– Support for two countries –
He said that despite existing “obstacles,” an agreement with the Palestinians based on two states for two peoples is the right thing for Israel’s security, Israel’s economy and the future of our children.
Lapid, who is campaigning in the Nov. 1 parliamentary election, said most Israelis support a two-state solution, and I am one of them.
“We have only one condition: that the future Palestinian state be peaceful,” said Lapid, whose UN speech was leaked in Israel and was already criticized by his political rivals.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since 2014.
The Lapid government’s current strategy is to try to support the Palestinian economy, but without starting a peace process with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is due to address the United Nations on Friday.
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since 1967 and imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas Islamists, since 2007.
Since 2008, Hamas and Israel have fought four wars involving Gaza’s second largest armed Islamist movement, Islamic Jihad.
“Lay down your weapons and prove that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will not take over the Palestinian state that you want to create,” Lapid said.
“Lay down your weapons and there will be peace.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published on a syndicated channel.)