BEIRUT (8:05 P.M.) – Just ahead of his expected visit to the White House to meet with President Biden on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave an interview to The New York Times wherein he openly acknowledged plans to continue covert attacks on Iran.
Bennett, who it appears is setting himself up to be more bellicose and hawkish in his public rhetoric than even his hawkish predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, unveiled in the interview a new “strategic vision” that he plans to discuss with Biden.
He said this will include more “clandestine attacks” and espionage targeting Iran and its nuclear program, which Tehran has long maintained is for peaceful domestic energy purposes. Bennett also made reference to what he called “the gray-area stuff” – a likely reference to recent and past sabotage operations which Israel rarely acknowledges on any official level.
According to the NY Times:
Mr. Bennett said he would present a new strategic vision on Iran, which he said would include strengthening ties with Arab countries opposed to Iran’s regional influence and nuclear ambitions, taking diplomatic and economic action against Iran, and continuing Israel’s clandestine attacks on Iran, including what he called “the gray-area stuff.”
Two among many of the major clandestine operations widely blamed on Israel, and which Israeli officials themselves later appeared to own up to, include the Natanz centrifuge assembly facility explosion in July 2020, and the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist outside of Tehran in November 2020.