Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid with the UNSC ambassadors
Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid with the UNSC ambassadorsForeign Ministry spokesperson

On Wednesday morning, Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) issued a joint statement following a briefing of ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry.

Gantz and Lapid hosted ambassadors of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) member countries for a briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The briefing is part of the State of Israel's national effort to call on the international community to condemn and stop Iranian terror and aggression in the region.

During the past week, Israel has acted in all the possible diplomatic and security channels in order to call on the international community to set clear boundaries for Iran and to cease its aggressive conduct.

Gantz and Lapid emphasized to the ambassadors that Israel will maintain the right to act independently in the face of any attack or threat to its citizens and sovereignty. They further stressed that the recent attacks are not part of a local or bilateral conflict, but rather an attack on the international community, and that the community should treat it as such and respond. Such action requires unity within the international community and action may be taken through the UN Security Council or any other international framework that will hold Iran accountable for its actions.

“Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the IRGC’s Air Force, is behind dozens of terror attacks in the region employing UAVs and missiles,” Gantz said. “For the first time ever, I will also expose the man who is directly responsible for the launch of suicide UAVs: His name is Saeed Ara Jani and he is the head of the IRGC’s UAV Command.”

“The UAV command conducted the attack on Mercer Street. Saeed Ara Jani plans and provides the training and equipment to conduct terror attacks in the region.

“Iran has once again proven to be a global challenge, a regional challenge and also a challenge to the State of Israel. Iran is responsible for dozens of terror attacks across the Middle East, while controlling its proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and additional countries.

“Iran has violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA (also known as the 'Iran deal' - ed.) and is only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon. Now is the time for deeds – words are not enough. It is time for diplomatic, economic, and even military deeds - otherwise the attacks will continue.”

Gantz also emphasized, “The Iranian people are not our enemy. The Iranian regime is threatening us and sparking a regional arms race.”

With regards to discussions with their international counterparts, the defense establishment has shared intelligence with Israel's partners and will continue to provide them with concrete evidence related to the recent attacks in the Middle East.

Lapid emphasized: “This is not a conflict between armies in Syria. This is not a covert operation against a military facility. This is an attack on the world's trade routes, this is an attack on freedom of movement. This is an international crime.”

Turning to the ambassadors, he continued: “So my question to you is: What is the international community going to do about it? Is there still such a thing as international law? And does the world have the ability and willpower to enforce the law? If the answer is ‘yes,’ the world should act now. If the international community does not respond in this attack, then there is no such thing as an international community. Instead it will be, ‘every man for himself.’”