Israel must act independently to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon if the world fails to do so, and is constantly updating its preparations for striking Iran if necessary, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Fox News in an interview segment released Thursday.
Asked whether operational plans for potentially striking Iran have been completed, Gantz said that they are always being updated and won't be complete until the very moment they are launched.
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"If the world stops [the Iranians] before, it's very much good," Gantz said. "But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves." Gantz said.
He also presented interviewer Trey Yingst with a classified map of targets in Lebanon that Israel has drawn up to prepare for a possible war with Hezbollah – sites that he said were intended for launching attacks on civilians and placed inside civilian areas. "Each one of them has been checked legally, operationally, intelligence-wise, and we are ready to fight," Gantz said. Asked how many rockets he believes Hezbollah possesses a decade and a half after its last war with Israel, Gantz said the number was in the hundreds of thousands.
The annual Israeli military intelligence threat assessment released last month stated that Tehran was advancing with its nuclear program and could produce a bomb within two years, but that its leadership hadn't reached a decision on whether to break out to weapons-grade enrichment.
In January, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said that because "Iran can decide that it is advancing toward a [nuclear] bomb," he had instructed the military "to draw up a number of operational plans, in addition to the existing plans, and we are working on them diligently and will develop them over the coming year."
Kochavi also accused Hezbollah of ignoring international law to concentrate forces and weapons inside cities and within the country's civilian population, and said the IDF is "adapting its combat patterns" for that shift in ways that include the army's use of intelligence. "The population lives inside the targets, inside the battlefield. Every fifth house in Lebanon has a rocket storeroom or an anti-tank missile storeroom or a war room," Kochavi said. "We don't intend to leave behind the values of the IDF and the values of international law, but these values were not meant only to prevent injury to noncombatants, they were meant to allow us to protect our citizens."