In run-up to congress vote, likelihood of Assad strike on Israel still deemed 'low'

Prime Minister's Office refuses to relate to reports that Obama enlisted Netanyahu to urge congressmen and heads of AIPAC to support a limited military action against Syria.

September 8, 2013 23:45
1 minute read.
Gantz during tour of Golan Heights, August 30, 2013.

Gantz during tour of Golan 370. (photo credit: IDF Spokesman)

The defense and intelligence establishment continue to believe that there is a "low probability" of a Syrian strike at Israel in retaliation for a US attack, government officials said after yet another round of high-level security consultations Sunday evening.

This assessment remained unchanged over the long Rosh Hashana weekend and even in the tense run-up to Wednesday's key Congressional vote on whether to approve a limited attack against Syrian President Bashar Assad because of his army's use of chemical weapons.

The Prime Minister's Office refused to relate in any way to various reports that US President Barack Obama had enlisted Netanyahu to urge congressmen and heads of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to support a limited military action against Syria.

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The refusal to either confirm or deny those reports was very much in line with Netanyahu's policy of saying nothing on Syria beyond that Israel was not invovled in the conflict there, but would respond fiercely if attacked. Active involvement by Netanyahu would risk involving Israel in the conflict.

Netanyahu, at the opening of Sunday's cabinet meeting, praised his own government's policy, saying the quiet Rosh Hashana holiday the country enjoyed was "not self-evident given the storm raging around us.

"We are watching over Israel, an island of tranquility, quiet and security, which also stems from our responsible and balanced policy and the very professional and vigorous action – only some of which is known to the public – by all of the security arms," he said.

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