Report: White House Shares Israeli Concern About Iranians in Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Yerushalayim in May. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

A day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed that he was opposed to the U.S.–Russia-brokered ceasefire in Syria on grounds that it leaves Israel vulnerable to Iranian–Hezbollah terrorists, the White House reaffirmed its commitment to Israeli security on its northern borders.

“Both governments — the United States and Israel — are rightly concerned about Iran’s malign influence in the region,” a White House official told The Jerusalem Post.

“A core goal of U.S. policy in Syria is to ensure that no vacuum is created which Iran can fill,” he added.

There have been conflicting reports about Israel’s involvement — if any — in negotiations leading to the Syrian ceasefire.

One Trump administration official told the Post last week that Israel was “not a party to it [the negotiations], but were consulted,” refuting the statement of a national security adviser to the president that Israel was directly involved in the ceasefire negotiations.

Referring to a phone conversation between Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday, a department official said that Netanyahu voiced his concerns about how the ceasefire could affect Israeli security.

“We have stayed in close touch with Israel throughout this effort,” the official said on Monday. “The secretary made clear that we are committed to pursuing an agreement that de-escalates violence and saves lives while also addressing the very real security concerns of Syria’s neighbors, including Israel. Those efforts and our intensive consultations with Israel will continue.”