Chuck Hagel and Moshe Ya'alon.
(photo credit: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry spokesman)
Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Monday during a joint press conference with his American counterpart Chuck Hagel.
Despite these statements, Ya'alon echoed previous statements made by the Israeli government that "Israel has the right to defense itself, on its own, against any threat."
Hagel stated that "all options, military or otherwise, need to be on the table" when dealing with the Iranian threat. He stressed, however, that he believes the military option should be a last resort.
"I believe that in every confrontation, there are other tools to utilize and they need to be used to the fullest extent, whether it's diplomacy or economic sanctions," he said.
Hagel reiterated the special ties between his country and Israel and vowed to provide Israel with any military support needed.
"The Obama administration is committed to strengthen Israel's military advantage. The US has always supported Israel's security needs and despite the economic crisis President Obama hopes Israel will get billions in military support," Hagel said.
Hagel also promised to add $200 million to Israel's security aide in order to buy more Iron Dome batteries, saying that the US is "committed to providing Israel with whatever support is necessary for Israel to maintain military superiority," stressing that Israel is a sovereign nation that has the right to defend itself.
Speaking of a closer security threat, Ya'alon touched on two key issues regarding Syria. He vowed firstly to "protect Israel's border in the Golan Heights," and secondly to prevent chemical weapons in Syria to fall into the wrong hands, saying that Israel will not "allow sophisticated weapons to be delivered or to be taken by rogue elements like Hezbollah and other rogue elements that are operating now in Syria."
Hagel would not go into great detail, but said the the use of WMD's in Syria would "change the rules of the game."