Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is feeling the heat from all sides.
In the Golan Heights he’s dealing with a new and forceful threat from Iranian targets in Syria. He’s also facing international condemnation from Monday's killings of Palestinians at the Gaza border.
VICE founder Shane Smith met with Netanyahu to discuss the violence on the border with Gaza and the new threats he thinks Israel is facing from Iranian forces in Syria.
"It's time to tell Palestinians: Abandon your fantasy of destroying Israel. Abandon the fantasy that says Israel will disappear. It will not," Netanyahu told VICE News.
At least 60 Palestinians, most of them believed to be unarmed, have been killed at the border with Gaza since protests began Monday. At least 2,700 more were injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.
World leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against Israel’s response to the protests on its border, and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said it was "alarmed by the disproportionate use of force displayed by the Israeli security forces against Palestinian demonstrators."
Yet Netanyahu was unyielding, and defended his country’s response against what he called a "deliberate infiltration attempt — paid and organized by Hamas."
Netanyahu then pivoted to the other crisis on his border: mounting tensions with Iran forces in Syria. He showed off the exploded parts of what he says is an Iranian drone that was shot down by Israeli forces. The drone attack, he said, precipitated a volley of Iranian missiles launched at Israel from Syria’s Golan Heights. This is the first time Israel has put the Iranian drone on full display since it was destroyed in February.
“You see that wing? I think this is the first time we’re showing this,” Netanyahu told VICE News. “We know for sure because this is an Iranian drone. You could see pictures of this drone, by the way, in Iran.
Prime Minister spokesman David Keyes was just as adamant that the Israelis are the ones in danger.
"A genocidal terrorist organization that long before any embassy was spoken about — Hamas — was calling to kill every single Jew," Keyes told Smith. "We can't afford to just say well that's hyperbole. Maybe they don’t mean it."
This segment originally aired on May 15, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.