Former Defense Minister on West’s operation in Syria: No need to panic

The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah are all threatening Israel, but “those who threaten to act or act against us will immediately feel the use of our long arm.”

April 15, 2018 04:11
1 minute read.
Moshe Yaalon



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Israel should not be concerned about any immediate escalation on the northern border following US-led coalition air strikes on Syrian regime sites, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Saturday.

“What happened is in the hands of the superpowers, which should not be directly related to us,” Ya’alon said at a cultural event in Ness Ziona hosted by Dafna Liel. “There is no need to panic and certainly no reason for worry.”

The Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah are all threatening Israel, but “those who threaten to act or act against us will immediately feel the use of our long arm,” Ya’alon said, referring to the air force, which is reported to have carried out more than a hundred strikes in Syria over the past several years.

“In the chaotic reality that is Syria, it is better for us to focus on our interests,” he said, adding that Israel has established a correct foreign and security policy in regards to Syria and has “succeeded in establishing deterrence vis-à-vis the main players” in the war-ravaged country.

“I do not think that at this time the Iranians have any interest, will, or ability to harm us in the way that they threaten. Those who can do so on their mission are Hezbollah. They are warning us for the future, but meanwhile our deterrence is working. I think there is no immediate danger of escalation,” he said.

Early on Saturday morning the United States, France and the United Kingdom carried out air strikes against Syrian regime targets in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 70 people there a week ago.

According to an Israeli official who was quoted by Reuters, Israel received between 12 and 24 hours’ warning ahead of the strikes, which he said “enforced” the red line laid out by Trump last year about the use of chemical weapons.
Trump says Syria attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all," April 12, 2018 (Reuters)

“Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk,” the official said, adding that he was not aware if Israel helped choose the targets.

Construction Minister and security cabinet member Yoav Gallant said that the strikes send an “important signal to the axis of evil – Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

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