Israel will not allow any breach of its sovereignty on the Golan Heights or in any other area, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told a visiting delegation of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday.
Ya’alon spoke as battles raged between rebels, including jihadi groups like al-Nusra Front, and the Assad regime’s military in Quneitra, on the border with Israel.
The US delegation included the committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, and ranking member, Rep. Eliot Engel.
Members were presented with information on the IDF’s activities during the recent conflict with Hamas, as well as Hamas’s usage of civilian facilities as human shields to launch rockets and mortars at Israel.
“Your visit reflects the closeness and alliance between our two countries,” Ya’alon told the delegation. “This alliance is based on common interests and values.”
The defense minister said the current period is marked by “chronic instability in this tough neighborhood in the Middle East. We are meeting new challenges that include all of the varieties of radical Islam, whether it is the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, elements which are present on the Golan Heights, over the border, and at the top is the Iranian threat – the central cause for instability in the Middle East.”
Ya’alon noted that on Sunday, a Patriot missile shot down a drone that crossed the border into Israeli airspace from Syria.
“This is part of the civil war between the Syrian Army and all types of militias, rebels, and the opposition, who are [also] fighting each other,” he said.
Ya’alon expressed gratitude for American assistance to Israel, adding, “There are special relations between the Pentagon and Defense Ministry, and between myself and my colleague and friend, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. We share our views regarding events in the Middle East, and we believe that we will know how to deal with challenges together, the US and Israel.”