Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) told a press conference at the Israeli American Council (IAC) in Florida that he instructed the IDF to begin operational preparations for action against Iran.
"Both the United States and the countries of Europe are well aware of what is happening and are losing patience. There has been no progress in the last round of negotiations in Vienna, and they understand that the Iranians are playing games," Gantz emphasized. "I told them that Iran has a weak hand right now, and there is room to force them to fold. We can apply military, economic, and political pressure to ensure that Iran will stop its fantasies about the nuclear program."
"There is no doubt that Iran is a problem for the world, and Israel is readying itself to act," he added. "I found an attentive government in Washington, and told them that Iran is first and foremost a global and regional problem, and only then a challenge to Israel. I hear from world leaders how much Iran harms their security. During my meetings in Washington, I showed them how Israel sees 'Plan B.' We agreed on a deep-rooted cooperative effort, and I can tell you that I am deeply confident that it will grow deeper, thanks to our common interests," he noted.
Regarding negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), Gantz commented that "The stronger the PA grows, the weaker Hamas becomes. We will not reach a political settlement with the current government, but it is certainly necessary and possible to take practical steps to improve the economic sector."
He referred to the US policy towards construction in Judea and Samaria as well, commenting "The United States is most interested in preserving the possibility of a two-state solution. Israel wants a political solution that will ensure its superiority in the security sector, but believes that there is still room for construction in areas that need it."
A senior security official also briefed reporters at the conference, saying, "The Iranians will not be in a hurry to cross the nuclear threshold, because they understand what will happen if they do. Enrichment is their main course of action, but there are other things that might happen along the way. We are following the issue, and cannot allow Iran to continue in this manner."
"Along with ties with the United States, Israel must be strong in its own right. I told the Americans that I had instructed the IDF to prepare for a military option, I will not elaborate on the dates here," the source added.
He commented on the explosion of the Hamas weapons depot in Lebanon on Friday night, noting: "It should be remembered that Lebanon has houses with a guest room and a missile room, and this is what happens when terrorist organizations operate within a civilian population. We are monitoring all such reports."