Benny Gantz to Iran from AIPAC: You won't become military power

Blue and White head says 'I won't hesitate to use force if and when it's needed.'

i24News,

Gantz
Gantz
Flash 90

In his first major international address Monday, former Israeli army chief and top candidate for the Israeli premiership Benny Gantz told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington, D.C. that his vision for a secure Jewish state relies on unity and safety for all Jews around the world, cautioning Israel's enemies against provocation but welcoming dialogue from those committed to peace.

Gantz used the platform to address the security situation currently brewing on the Gaza Strip border after a rocket launched from the Palestinian enclave struck a home in central Israel, injuring seven people.

Addressing Gaza's Hamas government, who Israel holds responsible for all attacks for all acts of aggression emanating from the territory, Gantz threatened their leadership with a 'personal reminder' of the past Israeli policy of targeted killings if attacks on the Jewish state continue.

Turning to Iran, just a week after Israeli media reported Tehran had hacked Gantz's phone and obtained sensitive information, the prime ministerial hopeful said: 'You know me not only from my cell phone. On my watch, you will not become a military power. I will not hesitate to use force if and when it is needed.'

'Never again will we allow you to establish yourself in Syria. We will not allow you to develop nuclear weapons,' he added.

Netanyahu has criticized Gantz for allowing Iran to hack his phone, strongly denying any allegations claiming he was involved in leaking the hack to the press and claiming that Iran supports Gantz for prime minister.

Gantz told the crowd at AIPAC that Netanyahu, who cancelled his expected appearance at the confab in order to return to Israel to oversee its response to the rocket attack, made the right decision, and he too will return to Israel on Monday.

'We will never withdraw from the Golan Heights,' Gantz said. 'Jerusalem will always be Israel's undivided capital, and the Jordan Valley will always be our eastern security border.'

Many US Jews have been at loggerheads with the Netanyahu government in recent years over issues such egalitarian prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall holy site and a previously proposed law that would not recognize conversions performed outside the Chief Rabbinate’s authority.

Gantz, likely trying to present himself as more accommodating to the largely Reform and Conservative population of US Jews, said Jerusalem's 'Western Wall is long enough to accommodate everyone.'

'If one Jew anywhere in the world is not safe,' Gantz said, 'the mission is not over.'

'Because we are Jewish, we will not stand idly by. We will not tolerate racism. We will not tolerate anti-Semitism,' concluding his remarks and receiving a standing ovation.

Gantz’s address comes on the second day of the pro-Israel lobby’s annual policy conference, which brings together a crowd of some 18,000 participants and hundreds of international officials for three days of discussions and debates on advancing the US-Israel relationship.




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