Netanyahu hints at Israeli aid to Ukraine
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would neither confirm nor deny whether Israel was behind the recent attack on a military facility in the Iranian city of Isfahan, but told reporters on Friday that his country is doing everything to harm “Iran's capabilities” on multiple “arenas.”
Speaking after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Netanyahu said “We concentrated mainly on the Iranian issue. There is a very great rapprochement between Israel and France in the way we see the Iranian threat,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
“We operate independently against Iran at different levels, but this activity is also systematically aimed at degrading or harming Iran's capabilities against us,” Netanyahu added. “But of course, it also harms Iran's capabilities or reduces them in relation to other arenas.”
Netanyahu also allegedly expressed to Macron a willingness to send “military objects” to Ukraine, according to an anonymous official quoted by the Times of Israel. The PM’s office declined to comment on the contents of the conversation.
Tehran accused East Jerusalem of being behind the recent attack on a military facility in Isfahan, believed to be a production hub for drones and missiles. A top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky suggested the raid was connected to the ongoing conflict with Russia, saying “Ukraine did warn you.”
Kiev and its Western backers have repeatedly accused Iran of supplying Russia with drones to be used in the Ukraine conflict. Both Russia and Iran deny the allegations. Tehran has admitted that it sent some drones to Moscow, but stressed that the delivery took place before the current hostilities dating from February 2022.
Earlier this week, multiple outlets reported that Netanyahu told CNN he was “certainly looking into” the possibility of dispatching the Iron Dome air defense systems to Ukraine. While Kiev has demanded the weapons, the previous Israeli government said such a course of action was impractical because it had none to spare.
Iron Dome is partly funded by US taxpayers, however, and Kiev has pressured Washington – its main sponsor in the West – to make Jerusalem change its mind. On Tuesday, during a two-day visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Joe Biden Administration expected Netanyahu’s government to “provide support for all of Ukraine’s needs,” specifying that this means “humanitarian, economic and security” as well.
So far, Israeli aid to Ukraine has included things such as medical supplies and ambulances, but has stopped short of weapons and ammunition, to Kiev’s frustration.
“All countries that supply weapons [to Ukraine] should understand that we will consider these [weapons] to be legitimate targets for Russian armed forces,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow this week, referring to reports that Israel might join the US and NATO in arming Kiev.
“Any attempts – implemented or even unrealized but announced, for the supply of additional, new or some other weapons – have led and will lead to an escalation of this crisis. And everyone should be aware of this,” Zakharova added.