JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is calling his meeting with President Joe Biden a success. Even so, his government still faces the threat of Iran and growing violence on the Gaza border.
Before boarding his flight home, Bennett described his time with President Biden as a direct and personal connection based on trust.
“We achieved all the objectives for the trip and even beyond that,” said Bennett. “We agreed with the Americans on a joint strategic effort to halt the Iranian nuclear race. we have taken a significant step in equipping and building Israeli power."
While the two leaders differ in approach, they agree Iran must never get a nuclear weapon.
“We're putting diplomacy first and see where that takes us. but if diplomacy fails, we're ready to turn to other options,” said Biden.
Bennett warned that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would be a “nightmare for the entire world” because “Iran is the world's number-one exporter of terror, instability and human rights violations."
The prime minister said Israel’s strategy is to first counter Iran’s “regional aggression” and then keep the Islamic Republic “from ever being able to breakout a nuclear weapon."
Meanwhile, hundreds of Hamas-Backed Palestinians launched a series of violent night-time protests Saturday and Sunday along the Gaza border. Their goal is to pressure Israel into easing the current economic and physical blockade against them.
“We will operate in Gaza according to our interest,” said Bennett, adding that the blame for the violence falls on Hamas.
Early Sunday, Israeli fighter jets struck a Hamas military compound used and the entrance to a terror tunnel. The Israel Defense Forces stated the strikes were in response to the violent riots.
While this is the worst violence since May’s 11-day war, the question is whether this might signal renewed escalation.
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