(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
As long as there aren’t real and effective sanctions against Iran’s petroleum
industry and central bank, Iran’s nuclear program will not be stopped, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday.
Addressing the Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, Netanyahu said that since the US left Iraq, Iran
is quickly “filling the vacuum.” As a result of changes in the Middle East,
Israel’s security problems are worsening, he explained.
minister also discussed changes in the Middle East, saying the region is
unstable and volatile.
The relationship between Israel and Egypt that
existed under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will not return, Netanyahu
said, and the new situation will effect Israel’s security.
He said the US
may cut its financial support of Egypt if the peace treaty with Israel is
In addition, Libyan weapons are entering Gaza through Sinai,
which is becoming a platform for terrorism and Iranian intervention, Netanyahu
“The State of Israel must greatly strengthen its defense
capabilities and its ability to attack immediately.
This costs a lot of
money,” the prime minister said. “We cannot increase the IDF’s power without a
Israel and the United States will hold the “Austere
Challenge” joint missile defense drill in the second half of 2012, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak announced Monday.
Barak said both parties had agreed
to postpone the drill, and the delay would enable Israel and the US to better
prepare for the joint maneuvers.
The drill had been scheduled for April
and was supposed to see the deployment of thousands of US troops and various
sophisticated US missile defense systems in Israel.
The drill was to
include the simulation of various missile defense scenarios with the objective
of creating a high level of interoperability so that, if needed, US missile
defense systems would be able to deploy in Israel and work with local defense
systems during a conflict.