Syria will not get S-300 missiles from Russia until 2014, Defense Minister Moshe
Ya’alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on
Ya’alon said Syria has turned into a wrestling arena for world
powers and that the government’s policy is not to intervene in the civil war as
long as it does not hurt Israeli interests, as in the transfer of advanced
weaponry, like missiles or chemical weapons, to Hezbollah.
Ministry is watching with concern to see if Russia sends Syria the S-300 missile
system, but they have yet to be transferred, and if they are, it will only be in
2014,” Ya’alon stated.
Israel and the US asked Russia in recent weeks not
to deliver the weapons system to Syria, but Russia said the missiles are
defensive and needed by Syrian President Bashar Assad in his battle against
Syria could use the S-300 to create a no-fly zone, blocking
the Israel Air Force from operating along the Syrian and Lebanese
Ya’alon pointed out that Israel provides humanitarian aid to
Syrians, and as such, posted a field hospital near the border. When someone is
seriously injured, he or she is brought to an Israeli hospital, he said. At the
same time, the defense minister said, there is no plan to open refugee
“Currently, neither side in Syria knows how to deal with successes
in a way that will bring them to a victory,” Ya’alon explained. “Syria is split.
Assad controls only 40 percent of the territory, and the rebels control at least
four neighborhoods in Damascus.”
Ya’alon added that the war in Syria has
moved into Lebanon, and that Hezbollah’s best forces are working for
The defense minister also discussed peace talks with the
Palestinians, saying the government is prepared to start negotiations as long as
there are no preconditions.
“Within a few weeks we will know if the
efforts of the American secretary of state will allow talks to begin,” Ya’alon
said. “We do not want to rule the Palestinians. We are prepared to start a peace
process with them, but the Palestinians continue to avoid it by setting
Ya’alon added that the government is “not willing to pay
just so the Palestinians will be willing to sit with us at the negotiation
table. They already have political independence, and we can take their
parliaments in Judea and Samaria as well as Gaza as proof of that.
their problem that they decided to split up.”
The defense minister said
there has been a recent increase in “disturbances” in Judea and Samaria, leading
the Central Command to change its operational assessments in the area.
for the Peri Committee recommendations, Ya’alon said it is “an open wound in
“I would be happy to see more Arabs and haredim
carrying the burden, but in light of the social sensitivities in the haredi
public, I thought it would be better to encourage them and not attack them,” he
explained. “The same goes for the Arab public.”
Ya’alon added that he
does not think criminal sanctions against draft-dodgers is the correct thing to
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman said
he sees no reason not to actively enlist Arab citizens to civilian
Monday’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
began with tension between Liberman and Ya’alon, with the former criticizing the
latter for not allowing the committee to properly supervise the defense
The Defense Ministry did not agree to a committee request to send
certain IDF staff members to give overviews of their work, and sent other
“Before this meeting began, I had a talk with
the defense minister, and we reached a compromise,” Liberman said.
hope that the agreements between us will go through the accepted conduits to all
the relevant factors and will not remain with the defense
Ya’alon responded that he does not dispute the crucial work
the committee does, but it is important to define what level of supervision is
“I hope that we can work together well,” he added. “As far as
I’m concerned, the committee will have the full cooperation of the State of
Israel’s defense establishment.”
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