Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon speaks at the UNGA.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK - Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said on Wednesday that Israel will do whatever is necessary to protect itself from regional threats and beyond just hours after it was revealed that Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor back in 2007.
"The international community must know that Israel will always protect the security of its citizens and take all necessary steps in the face of threats in our region,” said Danon.
Danon’s comments came just hours after the IDF military censor cleared for publications details of the attack, 10-and-a-half years after the incident took place.
Danon also warned Israel’s adversaries in the Middle East not to try and provoke an armed conflict with the Jewish state.
“Our enemies would be wise not to test Israel's resolve or question our readiness to defend our nation,” the envoy said.
Until Wednesday, Israel had neither confirmed nor denied that it bombed the Al-Kibar nuclear reactor in the Deir el-Zor area of Syria in an overnight operation conducted on September 5, 2007.
“The message of the attack on the reactor in 2007 is that Israel will not accept the construction of a capability that threatens the existence of the State of Israel,” IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said in a video statement on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who served as head of the opposition at the time of the bombing, said that the attack was consistent with Israel’s policy of preventing its enemies from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The Israeli government, IDF and Mossad prevented Syria from developing nuclear capabilities,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “For this they are deserving of all praise. Israel's policy has been and remains consistent – to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with nuclear weapons.”
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said that the revelation should come as a warning to Israel’s neighbors, and specifically Iran, that it will not tolerate any threats to its citizens or national security.
“The courageous decision of the Israeli government almost 11 years ago to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria and the successful operation following it sends a clear message: Israel will never allow nuclear weapons to countries like Iran who threaten its existence,” he said on Twitter.
Part of the reason for the lifting of the reporting ban is that both Ehud Olmert, who was prime minister at the time of the attack, and Ehud Barak, who was his defense minister, have written about the attack and their role in making the decision in their newly published memoirs.
Wednesday's announcement marks the second time that Israel has acknowledged destroying the nuclear reactor of an enemy country. In 1981, the IDF bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, for which it immediately claimed credit.JTA contributed to this article.