While the United States and Russia have been vague in their assurances that Iranian proxies would be kept away from the Israeli Golan Heights, an Israeli official was quoted in media reports on Monday as saying that those hostile forces would be allowed to operate as close as three to four miles of the border.
The emerging ceasefire agreement in Syria, while containing a provision for the removal of Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Shiite militias in Syria from the border area with Israel, was said to have “raised eyebrows” on Monday when it was learned that they would be permitted so close to Israeli territory.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz would not confirm the reports. But he and other officials have voiced concern that the ceasefire is not sufficient to safeguard Israeli security interests.
“Even though we view favorably the agreement on the need to eliminate the foreign forces — namely, the Iranian forces, Hezbollah and the Shiite militias from the area — the test will be on the ground, not in words but in deeds. Israel has already made it clear that it shall not accept Iran and its affiliates and proxies basing themselves in Syria, which will be a permanent threat and a constant source of tension, friction and instability,” Katz told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a statement Monday.