Amos Gilad: S-300 can reach Hezbollah via Syria

"Israel and Russia have excellent dialogue," the head of the security-diplomatic branch of the Defense Ministry says.

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May 18, 2013 21:06
2 minute read.
Amos Gilad [file]

Amos Gilad 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (CC) by Hanay)

 
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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 Persian Gulf.”

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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.

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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 important.”



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.

“Military Intelligence didn’t say this,” he said. “Certainly, this is not our official stance. Our stance is that we take care of our security.”

Asked to 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 worse.”

Gilad said Israel had to take all Iranian threats seriously, adding that the Syrian border area represents a fluid situation.

“But we 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.”

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