Amos Gilad 311.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (CC) by Hanay)
The advanced S-300 Russian air defense system, which Moscow has pledged to
deliver to Syria, could reach Hezbollah and beyond, a senior defense official
warned on Saturday.
Amos Gilad, head of the diplomatic-security branch of
the Defense Ministry, told Channel 2, “These weapons are dangerous. If Hezbollah
and Iran support Syria, why shouldn’t [the Syrians] transfer these weapons to
Hezbollah? It’s a threat to us, a threat to the Americans, and a threat to the
Gilad’s reference to the Persian Gulf appeared to be a
veiled warning that Syria could transfer the S-300 to Iran, which was supposed
to receive a shipment of the batteries from Russia in 2010, before American and
Israeli pressure scuttled the arms deal.
“Israel has to look out for the
security of its citizens,” he added.
Noting that Hezbollah is more stable
than the Syrian regime, Gilad argued that if Syria has already transferred Scud
missiles to Hezbollah, there is reason to believe the S-300 could follow the
same route from Damascus to Lebanon.
Referring to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s recent trip to Russia
to meet President Vladimir Putin, Gilad
praised what he described as the “excellent open dialogue” Israel has with
Russia, adding that the communications channel is “very
Turning his attention to the civil war in Syria, Gilad said
that the Assad regime is “systematically killing its people to survive.” He said
Israel as a small state can’t influence the “terrible slaughter there,” adding
that the regime has fired between 200- 300 missiles on its own population
centers since the civil war broke out two years ago.
Gilad also responded
to a UK Sunday Times report
which quoted a senior Israeli official as arguing
that it would be preferable for Assad to remain in power.
Intelligence didn’t say this,” he said. “Certainly, this is not our official
stance. Our stance is that we take care of our security.”
comment on a threat made over the weekend by the Iranian military’s deputy chief
of staff, Masoud Jazari, who vowed that the Golan Heights would turn into an
active terrorism zone, Gilad said, “We are a small country with many
fronts. Iran, whichever which way you look at it, is the central threat. It tore Lebanon apart and placed a little
under 100,000 rockets there, creating a state within a state. It tore the
Palestinian Authority apart. Today there is ‘Hamastan’ in Gaza – a Sunni
terrorist entity. As soon as [the Iranians] get nuclear weapons, it will
be easy to imagine what will happen. Such threats will get
Gilad said Israel had to take all Iranian threats seriously,
adding that the Syrian border area represents a fluid situation.
also have to rely on our power of deterrence,” he said. “We emphasize the quiet
period we had over Shavuot. There is quiet. After all, we have deterrence
and a powerful army, and it is perceived as such.”