According to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Israel has been updating its plans to carry out strikes on what it says are Iranian nuclear sites.
Most importantly, Israel appears to have made this determination independently — that is, if it must do so in order to defend itself, the country has declared that it will carry out such attacks, with or without U.S. approval.
This decision comes as President Biden’s relationship with Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be strained and lukewarm at best. Certainly, Biden’s attitude to Israel strikes a noticeable contrast to that of former President Donald Trump, who had always been a staunch supporter in both word and deed.
Israel Contemplates Unilateral Military Strikes
Speaking to Fox News on the subject of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Israel’s desire to protect itself, Israeli Defense Minister Gantz said, “If the world stops them before [they develop a nuclear weapon], it’s very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves.”
Israeli officials say they do not feel as supported by the Biden Administration as they were by the Trump Administration. During his presidency, Trump famously moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and signed an order recognizing the Golan Heights region as Israeli territory, among many other similar shows of support.
Biden, by contrast, had not even gotten around to calling Netanyahu until Feb. 17 — nearly a month after his inauguration.
President Barack Obama famously had rather tense relations with Israel and there had long been rumors of personal antipathy between himself and Netanyahu. Given that one of Biden’s major aims for his Administration appears to be an attempted revival of the Obama years, perhaps Biden’s tepid attitude toward Israel should not be surprising.
It has, of course, been longstanding Israeli policy for many years to do whatever it deems necessary to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Speaking on Thursday, March 4, Netanyahu said, “I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and so far, we’ve been successful.”
Depending on how severe things get, this may even mean an eventual war between Israel and Hezbollah, one of the terrorist organizations known to be funded and supported by the Iranian government.
When speaking with Fox News, Defense Minister Gantz shared a classified map purporting to show civilian targets in Israel that Hezbollah planned to attack with rockets.
“It’s a target map,” he said. “Each one of them has been checked legally, operationally, intelligence-wise, and we are ready to fight.”
If things escalate and Biden chooses to remain distant from Israel, there is no telling how chaotic and damaging the result could be.