Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday that Israel’s enemies will be “dealt a crushing blow” if they attempt to attack it.

Speaking at the Kohelet Policy Forum Conference in Jerusalem, which focused on the statement by the Trump administration in November that Israel’s settlement enterprise is not illegal under international law, the prime minister addressed recent developments in the Middle East.

“Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people over the past few decades. He spread fear of suffering and planned future attacks—many Middle Eastern leaders think so,” said Netanyahu, referring to the assassination on Friday in Iraq of the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force by the United States.

“It is important to say that Israel completely stands with the United States. I will say it again—America has no better friend than Israel in the Middle East, and Israel has no better society than the United States.”

Commenting further on Iran’s aspirations in the region, the prime minister said the Islamic Republic “wants to seize large parts of the region. It wants to eliminate us. It understands that Israel is the largest and most powerful Western force in the region. Israel is the anchor. Anyone who tries to attack us will suffer a crushing blow.”

Turning to the settlements issues, Netanyahu pledged that his government “will not allow the uprooting of any community—Jewish or Arab—under any peace plan.”

U.S. special envoy Avi Berkowitz met with Netanyahu on Monday to discuss the rollout of the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan. Also in attendance was U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

“The principles are simple: Israel has and will continue to have security control west of Jordan, Jerusalem will never be divided, and settlements will not up uprooted,” said Netanyahu.

He further said that Israel “will remain undeterred” vis-à-vis the prospect of a potential war-crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Friedman also addressed the forum, saying of recent tensions between Washington and Tehran that the United States would “defeat the major threats of our time,” and “bring peace and justice to the world.”

He further expressed his hope that the mounting tensions between the two countries would not cost innocent lives.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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