Middle East
© AP Photo/ Ariel Schalit

Israeli PM Given Power to Declare War With Only Defense Minister's Approval

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The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as well as the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee originally decided against the proposal, but it was later passed in the Knesset during a second and third reading, Haaretz newspaper reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been granted the authority to declare war with only defense minister Avigdor Lieberman's approval in extreme situations, according to Haaretz newspaper.

The Knesset approved the amendment 62 to 41, transferring the power to launch a war or significant military operations to the Prime Minister without specifying the makeup of the panel that makes the decision.

Israeli opposition lawmakers argued that the law gives too much power to the smaller "security cabinet," describing the legislation as "severely harmful."

"I think this is another distraction from Netanyahu's shaky legal situation," Member of Knesset (MK) Eyal Ben-Reuven stated.

READ MORE: Netanyahu Seeks to Prod Trump to Withdraw From Iran Nuclear Deal — Reports

The controversial law has been approved in light of unfolding tensions between Iran and Israel, as the Israeli Prime Minister has stated that Iran is continually increasing the range of its nuclear-capable missiles, saying that Israel has thousands of documents showing how Tehran allegedly lied to the world after signing the nuclear agreement, proving that Iran's nuclear program had a military dimension, code-named "Amad Project."

On July 14, 2015, the EU and the P5+1 group of countries that includes China, Germany, France, Russia, the UK and the US, signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, with Tehran. The accord has determined a gradual lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program and enabling inspections to ensure that the nature of the program is peaceful.