Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned Sept. 27 to the UN General Assembly hall in New York to send what he termed “a message to the tyrants in Tehran.” He announced that Israel would never allow a regime calling for its annihilation to develop nuclear weapons and would keep acting against its presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Netanyahu’s tough stance on Iran evidently did not impress the young Palestinian who killed Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi on Oct. 7 at the West Bank’s Barkan industrial area where they worked. The Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip who launch incendiary kites and balloons into Israel to burn the fields of the neighboring Israeli communities were not impressed, either. Netanyahu is unable to defend his people in those places, at this point in time.
In terms of Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu actually has cause to boast. The determined campaign he led against it catapulted the issue to the top of the international agenda and accelerated negotiations that resulted in Iran’s signing of the 2015 agreement with six world powers on curbing its nuclear ambitions. That was the agreement about which Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said this past March, “For now, we cannot detect any Iranian violations of the agreement. … Right now the agreement, with all its faults, is working and is putting off realization of the Iranian nuclear vision by 10 to 15 years.” Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad, former head of the Military Intelligence Research Division and of the Defense Ministry’s Political Affairs Bureau, had reservations about the deal. Still, in July, he said, “Why does it need to be revoked? They [the Iranians] are adhering to the agreement.” Gilad warned, “We are merely pushing the Iranians to strike out at us harder than ever. Instead of 130,000 missiles, we’ll get 200,000,” a reference to rockets Iran is believed to have supplied to its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.