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Former national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday emphasized the need for Israel to “decisively” retaliate against Iran and that the United States has so far shown “weakness” when dealing with the threat of Tehran.

“I think it’s imperative that Israel strike decisively, not proportionately. Not disproportionately, to reestablish deterrence and to convince the terrorist proxies that Iran has set up in its Ring of Fire strategy, that they’re not intimidated by what happened last week, Bolton said on NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday.”

Bolton is among various past and present U.S. leaders calling for a response from either Israel, the U.S., or both, following an Iranian missile and drone attack on Saturday.

Israel was able to intercept the majority of the dozens of Iranian missiles with the assistance of its allies, including U.S. forces.

The attack was largely expected in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike earlier this month that killed two senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers at the Iranian embassy in Syria.

“The threat that has galvanized the Gulf Arab states and Israel…that the thing they see in common is Iran — both the nuclear threat and the terrorist threat,” Bolton said on NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday” “That’s what led to the growing closeness [post-Cold War.] And it’s very important in today’s world, the Gulf Arab States view the United States as weak and feckless.”

Bolton criticized the Biden administration’s reported response so far.

“The Biden administration is putting it out that they basically said to Israel, not only are we not going to participate in retaliation, you shouldn’t either because no Jews died,” Bolton said. “You know, this is the kind of weakness that they also displayed in not attacking Shia militia in Iraq and Syria until three Americans died. Despite 160 attacks by those militant before that.”

Bolton was referring to the spike in attacks by Tehran-backed proxies against American troops and bases in Iraq and Syria last year following Palestinian militant group Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel.

The attacks died down in early February when the U.S. launched a retaliatory assault against the militia groups after an attack by Iranian-aligned militants killed three U.S. service members at a base in Jordan in January.

He later suggested the United States “should proudly join” Israel if the country decides to go after Iran’s nuclear program.

President Biden later spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, condemning the attacks “in the strongest possible terms.” 

Axios on Sunday reported Biden told Netanyahu he will not support an Israeli counterattack on Iran and that the president and his senior advisers are concerned an Israeli response would trigger a wider regional conflict.

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