Likud MK Nir Barkat said Saturday that if the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group fires at Israel from Lebanon, Israel should respond by targeting Tehran.
In an interview with The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the Israeli American Council’s national summit in Florida, Barkat said that retaliatory fire on Lebanon — as Israel has done in the past — would not be sufficient on its own.
“Since Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran, we need to change the equation and say openly that if they fire rockets on Israel, it won’t lead to a Third Lebanon War, but rather a First Iran War; and our target must be Tehran,” he said.
Asked whether the same logic should be applied to rocket fire from Gaza, given that the enclave-ruling Hamas also receives funding from Iran, Barkat accepted the precept in principle but said he was more focused on Hezbollah and its stockpile of rockets.
“In order to prevent a Third Lebanon War, we need to prepare for the First Iran War,” reiterated the senior lawmaker in the Likud opposition party, saying his stance on Iran is more “aggressive” than that of the coalition.
While both Barkat and the current government oppose a return to the Iran nuclear deal, the Likud MK says Israel’s leadership must also be more assertive in combating Iran through conventional warfare.
Prior to arriving in Florida for the IAC confab, Barkat spent several days in Washington where, he said, he worked to explain his position to members of Congress.
פגשתי את ידידי הטוב, הסנאטור לינדזי גרהאם בוושינגטון. בחודשים האחרונים לינדזי נרתם למאבק נגד הקונסוליה הפלסטינית בירושלים – והוביל מהלכים משמעותיים בוושינגטון במטרה לבלום את הקמתה. לינדזי הוא ידיד אמת של ישראל, שתמיד מתייצב ראשון להגן עליה כאן בסנאט האמריקני. תודה לך לינדזי 🇺🇸🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/SIlMBTlsxE
— ניר ברקת (@NirBarkat) December 9, 2021
Barkat asserted that Israel should be warning the Iranians that if they attack the Jewish state — be it from Tehran or Beirut — “we’re going to take them ten years backward, we’re going to hit them in civilian areas that’ll be the most painful for them. We’ll damage them economically — their oil, their electricity, their infrastructure.” Targeting civilian sites could leave Israel open to accusations of war crimes.
Asked whether such an intense strike would draw an Iranian response against Israel, Barkat was unfazed.
“War is war,” he said.