Netanyahu: Tackling Iran can’t wait until after the pandemic

Netanyahu fires back at Defense Minister Benny Gantz who said that his top priority is the coronavirus crisis and not extending sovereignty over settlements in Judea and Samaria.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said despite the coronavirus crisis there were issues that could not wait, contradicting his coalition partner, Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Speaking at a press conference Monday together with visiting U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, Netanyahu said, “We have serious issues to discuss – they are so serious that they cannot even wait for COVID-19.”

Netanyahu appeared to have forgotten about the social distancing regulations as he shook hands with Hook before the meeting, although the two did wear masks.

Hook was in Jerusalem for talks on U.S. and Israeli efforts to restrain Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the pending expiration in October of an arms embargo against the Islamic Republic.

Netanyahu said it was time for the world to take stiffer action against Iran, which continued to reject international norms.

“I believe it is time to implement snapback sanctions,” Netanyahu said. “I don’t think we can afford to wait. We should not wait for Iran to start its breakout to a nuclear weapon, because then it will be too late for sanctions.”

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Earlier this morning, Likud Minister and Netanyahu-loyalist Tzachi Hanegbi also fired back at Gantz, telling Kan Radio that the Blue and White Party leader was off track by saying the government wasn’t making the pandemic fight a priority.

“Gantz’s statement is puzzling. 99 percent of what we do is not about corona,” Hanegbi said, adding he didn’t understand where Gantz’s party got they idea they were the “switch” controlling sovereignty efforts.

“We are committed to realizing the window of opportunity [for annexation] as long as Trump is the ruler. We will not give it up, but we will only do so with the agreement of the United States,” Hanegbi said.