palestine

Netanyahu in provocative Golan visit

‘We are prepared for any scenario and I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that they test us’

Reuters
11:44 February 7, 2018
REG 180207 NETANYAHU 1

Occupied Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a provocative visit to the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday, peering into Syria and warning Israel’s enemies not to “test” its resolve.

Netanyahu has been cautioning against any attempt by Iran to deepen its military foothold in Syria or construct missile factories in neighbouring Lebanon.

Lebanon’s top three leaders accused Israel on Tuesday of threatening the stability of the border region between them amid rising tension over territorial and maritime boundaries.

“We are prepared for any scenario and I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that they test us,” Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks during the Occupied Golan visit.

He did not mention Iran or its Lebanese militia ally, Hezbollah, both main players in Syria’s civil war, by name.

Netanyahu was accompanied to a hilltop observation point, some three kilometres from a 1974 ceasefire line, by his security cabinet.

They were briefed on the security situation in the area by Israel’s armed forces chief and the military commander of the northern region, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 war, in a move never recognised by the international community, and has since occupied it, encouraging colony expansion there.

Last week Netanyahu visited Russia for talks focused on Syria, warning that Israel will not accept Iran’s growing military presence there and in neighboring Lebanon.

Before departure for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu said that Iran is trying to turn Lebanon into “one giant missile site, a site for precision missiles against the state of Israel, which we will not tolerate.”

The Israeli leader also pointed at what he described as “Iran’s relentless efforts to establish a military presence in Syria, which we strongly oppose and are also taking action against.”

Russia and Iran have joined forces to back President Bashar Al Assad throughout the Syrian conflict.

Russia has waged a military campaign in Syria since September 2015, helping Al Assad’s forces score a series of victories and win back key ground.