NEW YORK – Former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi said he believes that the Iranian nuclear agreement should be immediately nixed and hopes the Trump administration kills the deal.Speaking at the annual Jerusalem Post conference in New York City, Ashkenazi was joined on stage by UN Ambassador Danny Danon where the two discussed the challenges Israel faces on its diplomatic and security fronts.The discussion, moderated by Channel 2 anchor Dana Weiss, opened on the subject of the Iranian nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic’s growing influence in Syria, and Hamas’ recent activities on the Gaza border.“I think nixing the Iranian deal is a good idea,” Ashkenazi said to a thunderous applause. “The real issue is whether the Iranian will decide to go to the bomb if the deal is over.”“It’s difficult to anticipate the future,” Ashkenazi continued, but the former military man said that he wasn’t concerned with the outcome unlike a number of other Israeli security experts who would like to see the deal remain in place.“The situation in Israel is not like before, as in the Yom Kippur War. We are the strongest military in the region today,” Ashkenazi boasted to another round of applause.Ashkenazi also said that he thought President Donald Trump’s declaration naming Jerusalem Israel’s capital was a “good development” and signified the “unshakable” ties the two countries share.Turning to Danon, the Israeli envoy was asked what the government plans to do as it faces increasing pressure on the international stage concerning what the United Nations Security Council refers to as the “Palestinian question.”“First of all, the UN Security Council needs to address Hamas’ actions on the fence,” Danon remarked before almost seamlessly shifting to the Iranian nuclear deal, where he signaled that Israel was prepared to deal with the fallout come what may from Trump’s decision.“We are waiting for Trump to either fix or nix the deal,” Danon said.
Danon also said he expects Trump to come to Israel in two weeks to open the new US Embassy in Jerusalem and praised the government of Guatemala for announcing that it will also move its embassy to the capital on May 16.Echoing Danon’s statement made last week at the UN Security Council – where the senior envoy revealed that Iran was training “80,000 extremists” at a military base near Damascus – Ashkenazi said Israel is concerned about Tehran’s continued plans of building up auxiliary paramilitary forces modeled after Hezbollah near Israel’s border in Syria.Ashkenazi said that the one option Israel has to stem the Iranian tide is trying to place pressure on Russia by convincing Moscow that they face the same security threats that may germinate from the Islamic Republic’s actions.
Ambassador Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN says Trump may visit Israel in two weeks at the 7th Annual Jpost Conference in NY, April 29, 2018 (JBS TV)