Israelis can continue with their holiday plans despite developments in Syria,
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Sunday.
Speaking before the 13th
annual world summit conference held by the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in
Herzliya, Ya’alon said the decision to encourage Israelis to proceed with their
routines came after a security evaluation held earlier in the
“Israel’s neighbors – particularly Syria – understand that anyone
who challenges us will meet the IDF’s power,” he said.
The Assad regime
used chemical weapons against its civilians, he continued.
involved in the Syrian civil war unless our interests are harmed or the red lines
we set [are crossed],” Ya’alon said.
He defined the red lines as an
attempt by Syria to transfer “quality weapons” to terrorist organizations, with
an emphasis on Hezbollah, transferring chemical weapons, and harming our
The defense minister hinted that inaction by the US on Syria
would be as significant for the region as action.
“We’re prepared for the
consequence of action or inaction in Syria,” he said.
Later in his
speech, Ya’alon said Syria is already divided into Alawite, Kurdish and Sunni
He added that the Assad regime and its allies are challenging the
world order through their pariah activities and state-sponsorship of
“Those who think it is possible to introduce democratization
to the Middle East through elections are wrong.
There is ignorance,
naivety and patronism here. Western society sanctifies life, and more than a few
circles [in the Middle East] sanctify death. This is an extreme difference,” he
“When human life isn’t important, how can one speak of human
rights, women’s rights, freedom of expression – values we fight for,” Ya’alon
“Those who are challenging the regional order are the Iranian
regime. It’s involved in every conflict in the Middle East. In Afghanistan and
Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain. In Syria, Lebanon with Hezbollah, the Gaza Strip,
Africa and South America. Iran stands at the top of states sponsoring terrorism
in a very active way,” Ya’alon said.
“Syria too is a state sponsor of
terrorism, which continues to host the Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus.
The Syrian regime is willing to help anyone who wants to challenge us, whether
it’s organizations in Gaza, supporting and arming Hezbollah, and more,” he
Such regimes have to be punished by the international system,
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