Meridor offers reassurances to Syria

Envoy to US cites "preparedness" on border that "we haven't seen since '73."

syrian troops 298.88 AP (photo credit: AP [file])
syrian troops 298.88 AP
(photo credit: AP [file])
Faced with what he called the biggest military buildup by Syria along its border with Israel since the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Israel's ambassador to the US said Wednesday his country was privately reassuring its Arab neighbor it is not seeking a confrontation. "We use every effort to send messages to Syria we have no offensive intention," said envoy Sallai Meridor. The ambassador dwelled on what he called a major buildup of Syrian missiles that could reach any part of Israel "and create major damage," and "a preparedness" along the border "that we have not seen since 1973." Meridor said Russia was contributing to Syria's arsenal by providing the country with missiles. Steering clear of the political turmoil at home, which he said was "not appropriate" for him to discuss publicly, Meridor nonetheless said Israel would continue "to do everything humanly possible to enhance peace" opportunities with the Palestinians. "We are trying to create opportunities for the Palestinians to make peace," he said. Offering massive evacuation of Jewish settlers on the West Bank and other concessions, Meridor said at a luncheon sponsored by The Israel Project, a private group: "I do not know a country in the world which would risk as much" for peace. "We are not going to give up the slightest opportunity to move forward," Meridor said. However, he gave no indication Israel would alter its policy of not dealing with Hamas, which plays a dominant role in the Palestinian government and is considered a terror group by the United States and Israel.