Netanyahu Criticizes Trump-Putin Southern Syria Ceasefire

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Sunday. (Reuters/Stephane Mahe)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyah opposes the ceasefire agreement in Southern Syria reached between the U.S. and Russia – which affects areas near the Golan – that went into effect last week, Israeli media reported Sunday. Netanyahu made the comments to reporters Sunday following his meeting in France with President Emmanuel Macron.

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier in July, Mr. Trump tweeted: “We negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria which will save lives. Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” He later added: “Syrian ceasefire seems to be holding. Many lives can be saved. Came out of meeting. Good!”

Last week, controversial White House advisor Sebastian Gorka had asserted during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that the ceasefire had been negotiated with “Israel, with Jordan involved,” and an administration official later clarified to The Jerusalem Post that the Israelis were “not a party to it, but were consulted.” The Kremlin had also said Putin had been in touch with Netanyahu over the deal.

Netanyahu, however, went public today with his opposition to the arrangement, stating that the ensuing conditions were advantageous to the Iranians who are seeking to expand their influence in the area. Israeli officials added that Israel believes that Iran has ambitious plans to set up a military foothold in the region, possibly including an airbase and naval base, which would be “game-changers.”

It now transpires that during the conversations held by the U.S. and Russia with Israel over the ceasefire, Israel had expressed many reservations about the security implications of the deal, and the Israelis now feel that their concerns about Iran, Hezbollah and other Shiite militias were swept aside and not addressed.