Israeli government officials steadfastly refused any comment Wednesday on the
reported Israeli attack at dawn of a Syrian arms convoy.
“We are not
relating to the incident,” a spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office said, his
words echoed throughout the day by spokespeople in the Foreign Ministry and the
The Israeli silence on the matter is reminiscent
of a similar silence following the reported September 2007 attack on a Syrian
nuclear installation that Israel to this day still never formally
Former US deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams
told The Jerusalem Post
last summer that Israel decided to bomb the al-Kabir
nuclear facility after thenpresident George W. Bush told then-prime minister
Ehud Olmert the US had opted for a diplomatic route in trying to get the
International Atomic Energy Agency to close the site.
When Bush informed
Olmert of his decision to go the diplomatic route, Olmert said that strategy was
unacceptable, and two months later Israel took action.
informed the US of the attack immediately afterward, Abrams said a decision was
then made not to “rub the Syrians nose in the matter” by making it public,
thinking that if everyone remained quiet, President Bashar Assad would not be
humiliated and forced to hit back.
Indeed, news of the attack began
trickling out in the Turkish media a couple of weeks afterward when jettisoned
parts of Israeli fighter jets were found in Turkish territory.
president Dick Cheney confirmed this version of events, writing in his 2011
memoir In My Time that in the days that followed the strike, “the Israeli
government asked that we not reveal what we knew about the target they’d struck
in the desert. They believed that widespread public discussion about the nuclear
plant or the fact that the Israelis had launched the strike might force Syrian
President Bashar Assad to respond, launching a wider conflict.”
safe to assume that similar logic may be behind Israel’s complete silence
Wednesday on what reportedly took place near the Lebanese-Syrian border in the