Netanyahu trying to steal attention from Gaza war, says Jordan minister; global push for Iran sanctions grows

Israel's war cabinet to hold third meeting on response to Iran’s attack

Israel Iran sanctions Israeli military spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, display to the media one of the Iranian ballistic missiles Israel intercepted over the weekend, in Julis army base, southern Israel | AP

With the US and the other Western allies urging restraint, the war cabinet meeting gets underway over the recent Iran air strike in Israel. Israel has called for imposing sanctions on Iran's missile project after the attack. 

Reiterating Israel's stand, the military spokesperson said that Iran will not get off "scot-free" after its missile and drone strikes. 

"We cannot stand still from this kind of aggression, Iran will not get (off) scot-free with this aggression," Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in southern Israel.

"We will respond the way that we will choose at the time that we will choose," he added.

However, Jordan's foreign minister said that Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to "steal" the attention away from the Gaza war by escalating its confrontation with Iran. 

FM Ayman Safadi said Iran was responding to the attack against its consulate and announced that it “did not want to escalate further”. 

"We are against escalating. Netanyahu wants to draw attention away from Gaza and focus on his confrontation with Iran," Safadi told reporters in Berlin.

Germany has also joined the calls to impose sanctions on Iran. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is calling on the European Union to impose fresh sanctions on Iranian drone technology. Baerbock had campaigned last year for the drone sanctions regime to be extended. 

“In these fragile times that we all work together to contribute to de-escalation" in the Middle East, she added.

The US is expected to impose further sanctions on Iran in the coming days. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Iran's oil exports "remain in focus as a possible area", adding that Iran's actions threaten stability in the Middle East. 

"From this weekend's attack to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Iran's actions threaten the region's stability and could cause economic spillovers," she said.

Russia urges Iran to stand down

In a phone call with Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that further escalation in the Middle East could have "catastrophic consequences". 

Meanwhile, a former US security adviser said Israel should launch the "mother of all cyber-attacks" and take out Iran's nuclear weapons programme. John Bolton said that it was one way that Israel could make Iran suffer. 

"The idea of saying 'take the win' simply because the missiles and drones missed their target is like saying 'hey you're still alive, what's the problem'...the problem is Israel's under attack," Bolton said.

US report reveals Israel violated international law

Meanwhile, a United Nations expert report reveals that Israel violated international law by attacking the Iranian diplomatic building in Syria. 

The report by a group of independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said that "Killings in foreign territory are arbitrary when they are not authorised under international law." 

"All countries are prohibited from arbitrarily depriving individuals of their right to life in military operations abroad, including when countering terrorism,” said the experts. 

The report emphasised that Israel does not appear to have been exercising self-defence on April 1. "It presented no evidence that Iran was directly committing an “armed attack” on Israel or sending non-state armed groups to attack it," the report said. 

Israel has also not provided any legal justification for the strike or reported it to the Security Council, as required by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, it said. 

“Israel’s attack consequently violated the prohibition on the use of armed force against another state under Article 2(4) of the Charter,” the experts said. 

Iran had launched around 300 drones, and missiles at Israel after an alleged Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria.

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