Several attacks against Israeli targets abroad were foiled recently, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday morning. He was speaking, with bitter coincidence, as a shooting attack in Toulouse, France, left a rabbi, his two children and another child dead outside a Jewish school.
Barak also reiterated recent Israeli assessments that Iran’s nuclear program is on the verge of becoming immune to disruptions by a possible military strike.
The remarks are likely to fuel speculation that Israel is preparing for a strike before Iran moves most of its nuclear facilities underground and beyond the reach of a precision attack.
In testimony to parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak also said that harsher international sanctions against Iran would be needed to try to pressure Tehran to abandon the suspect elements of its nuclear program.
“The world, including the current U.S. administration, understands and accepts that Israel necessarily views the threat differently than they do, and that ultimately, Israel is responsible for taking the decisions related to its future, its security and its destiny,” he said.
Iran’s nuclear program, Barak said, “is steadily approaching maturation and is verging on a ‘zone of immunity’ — a position from which the Iranian regime could complete its program without effective disruption, at its convenience.”
Barak added that strategic cooperation with the US was close to an all-time high and the global community was ready to stop Iran.
He said Hezbollah has been trying to carry out attacks against various Israeli targets and that the attempts have been blocked.
Barak added that security and strategic cooperation with Washington were at a high level, allowing Israel greater latitude to maneuver in the global arena.
Asked about Iran, Barak said the global community knew Tehran was seeking a nuclear capability. He added that leaders all over the world saw the need to stop Iran from obtaining such arms before it was too late.