Russia on Friday summoned Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren to justify Israel’s air strike in Syria at a target near the city of Palmyra.According to Channel 2 the strike hit close to Russian troops. The Foreign Ministry confirmed Koren’s meeting with the Russians, just one day after the ambassador presented his credentials, but did not expand on its content.Israel and Russia have a mechanism by which to coordinate military activity so as not to create a diplomatic crisis.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow on March 9 for one day to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the dangers to Israel from Hezbollah and Iran in Syria.On Friday, Netanyahu said of the air strike: “Our policy is very consistent. When we detect attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah and we have the intelligence and feasibility to carry out an operation, we will work to prevent it.This is how we acted and how we will continue to act. Our determination is strong and the proof that is that we are operating. Everyone should take this into account. Everyone.”Although Israel has reportedly carried out air strikes against Syria in the past, this attack threatened to escalate tensions in the region because of the flare-up with Russia and because Syria struck back with anti-aircraft missiles.
MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) called on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to hold an urgent meeting on the situation.Syria and Iran have asked the United Nations to condemn the air strike.According to the Syrian Arab News Agency SANA, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, “Syria calls on the UN secretary- general and the president of the UN Security Council to condemn this blatant Israeli aggression, to force Israel to stop supporting terrorism in Syria, to implement all UN Security Council resolutions on counterterrorism, including Resolution No. 2253, to withdraw from the whole occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th, 1967, and to implement Resolution No.497 from 1981.”On Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Israel is using ISIS to justify its interference in the Syrian conflict.“Syria has won, they are just waiting to defeat the terrorists,” Nasrallah stated. “Netanyahu went to Putin, pleading with him due to his fear of an ISIS defeat, because an ISIS defeat in Syria would put an end to Netanyahu’s plans,” he said.“Israel is using all kinds of excuses to intervene in Syria, once to prevent the flow of weapons to Hezbollah and another time because an errant missile fell in the Golan, but the objective is to support ISIS.I call on all the Islamic organizations to abandon the enemy Axis and join the resistance Axis,” Nasrallah added. Maariv contributed to this report.
Netanyahu meets Putin in Moscow (credit: REUTERS)