Israeli PM says better to confront Iran sooner than later

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on May 6, 2018. Netanyahu spoke about Iran’s nuclear program. (Jim Hollander/AFP)
Updated 06 May 2018
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Israeli PM says better to confront Iran sooner than later

  • Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has "half a ton" of documents which prove Iran lied about its nuclear activities
  • The Israeli PM's comments come as US President Donald Trump considers ditching the nuclear deal

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused Iran of supplying advanced weapons to Syria that pose a danger to Israel, saying it’s better to confront Tehran sooner rather than later.
Israel has repeatedly warned it will not tolerate a lasting Iranian military presence in neighboring Syria, and is believed to have been behind recent airstrikes on Syrian military bases that killed Iranian soldiers, prompting Tehran to vow revenge. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.
Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday that Iran has delivered advanced weapons to Syria “in order to attack us both on the battlefield and on the home front.”
“We are determined to block Iran’s aggression against us even if this means a struggle. Better now than later,” he said. “We do not want escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario.”
Israel has long viewed Iran as its biggest threat because of Tehran’s nuclear activities, its support for armed groups across the region and its leaders’ frequent calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. In recent years, Iran has provided crucial military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Netanyahu’s remarks came as President Donald Trump weighs whether to withdraw the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu was an outspoken opponent of the deal, which required Iran to limit its nuclear enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Netanyahu says the deal will not prevent Iran, Israel’s most bitter enemy, from reaching nuclear weapons capability.
Last week, Netanyahu said a “half ton” of Iranian nuclear documents seized by Israeli intelligence revealed that Iran had lied about its past efforts to produce nuclear weapons. He did not provide any evidence that Iran has violated the 2015 nuclear deal, but said the documents prove Tehran cannot be trusted.
Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, but has never publicly disclosed its arsenal.
European countries, which have been pressing Trump to stick with the deal, said Netanyahu’s presentation only reinforced the importance of the agreement, which provides for inspections.


Israel destroys house of Palestinian charged with killing soldier

Updated 48 min 7 sec ago
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Israel destroys house of Palestinian charged with killing soldier

  • Israeli forces arrived at the El Amari camp before dawn on Saturday, sealed off the four-story Abu Humaid house and destroyed it
  • Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014

EL AMARI REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank: Israeli forces on Saturday demolished the family home of a Palestinian charged with killing an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank, the military and witnesses said.
Israel says Islam Abu Humaid, 32, threw a 40 pound (18 kg) marble plate from a rooftop, killing an Israeli special forces sergeant, Ronen Lubarsky, 20, during a May arrest raid in El Amari refugee camp in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Israeli forces arrived at the El Amari camp before dawn on Saturday, sealed off the four-story Abu Humaid house and destroyed it, the military said in a statement.
The Abu Humaid family home has been destroyed before and rebuilt. Two other Abu Humaid sons are in Israeli custody, charged with the killings of five Israelis, and another two face lengthy incarceration for serious security offenses.
A sixth Abu Humaid son was killed by Israeli forces in 1994 after himself being involved in a deadly ambush against an Israeli intelligence officer in the West Bank.
According to the indictment against him, Islam Abu Humaid told interrogators that he wanted to avenge the injury of one of his brothers in a previous Israeli army raid.
“What can we do? This is an enemy who thinks that by doing such actions they will terrorize us and make us fear them,” said Islam’s mother, Latifa Abu Humaid.
“On the contrary, our animosity becomes stronger, and with it our perseverance and strength.”
Israeli rights groups have criticized family-home demolitions of Palestinian attackers as acts of vengeance and collective punishment.
Israel’s Supreme Court has largely upheld the demolition policy. Israeli officials have termed it both punitive and a deterrence to potential attackers.
“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will continue operating in order to thwart terror and maintain security in the area,” the military said.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the demolition.
Tensions flared this week in the West Bank with a string of Palestinian attacks that killed an Israeli baby and two Israeli soldiers and Israeli forces shot dead four suspected Palestinian assailants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that in response to the attacks, slated demolitions would be sped up.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.