The international community must use “military force” if Iran develops nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told the United Nations on Thursday, expressing his support for the creation of a “peaceful” Palestinian state.
Israel has launched an intense diplomatic offensive in recent months to try to convince the United States and major European powers such as Britain, France and Germany not to renew the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Over the past 10 days, several officials have suggested that the deal — which then-US President Donald Trump scrapped in 2018 — may not be extended until at least mid-November, a deadline Lapid has been trying to use to get the West to impose a tougher approach. in their negotiations.
“The only way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is to present a credible military threat,” Lapid said in a speech at 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 continues its nuclear program, the world will respond not with words, but with military force,” he added.
And he made no secret of the fact that Israel itself would be willing to get involved if it felt threatened.
“We will do what it takes,” he said. “Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.”
From the General Assembly podium, Lapid accused Tehran’s leadership of leading an “orchestra of hatred” against the Jews, saying Iranian ideologues “hate and kill Muslims who think differently, such as Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini.” the woman whose death after being arrested by Iran’s morality policy has sparked widespread protests there.
Israel, which sees Iran as its nemesis, also blames Tehran for funding armed movements, including Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas.
– Support for two states –
Despite the existing “obstacles,” he said, “an agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right choice for Israel’s security, for Israel’s economy and for the future of our children.”
Lapid, who is campaigning for the Nov. 1 parliamentary election, said a large majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, “and I’m one of them.”
“We have only one condition: that a future Palestinian state be peaceful,” said Lapid, whose UN speech in Israel had been leaked and already criticized by his political rivals.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been stalled since 2014.
The current strategy of the Lapid government is to try to support the Palestinian economy, but without launching a peace process with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who will address the United Nations on Friday.
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since 1967 and has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas Islamists, since 2007.
Since 2008, Hamas and Israel have waged four wars in which Islamic Jihad, the second largest armed Islamist movement in Gaza, has also participated.
“Lay down your arms and prove that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will not take over the Palestinian state you want to create,” Lapid said.
“Lay down your weapons and there will be peace.”
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