Yaalon on Syria: ‘We Will Not Intervene’

YERUSHALAYIM -

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Tuesday during a visit with the navy that “Israel is determined not to intervene in what is going on in Syria, but at the same time we will not allow an escalation of fire on the Golan Heights.”

“Our policy is clear: We are not getting involved in their civil war. But we will not allow firing on the Golan. Last night, a Syrian military position was destroyed in retaliation for this kind of fire into the Golan Heights.”

Yaalon took the opportunity to deny that he directed the commander of the central region Gen. Nitzan Alon not to appear in the Knesset together with leaders of the Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron.

“It is incorrect that he did not appear because of my instructions. Gen. Nitzan Alon routinely meets with the heads of the regional councils. There was an attempt to bring about an incident in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee in which Gen. Alon would engage in confrontation with leaders in the region.

“I thought that would be wrong, and the committee decided on my advice to hear the community leaders, which is important, and to hear Gen. Alon speak separately about military matters behind closed doors. And that’s what happened.”

In the course of his naval inspection, Yaalon was asked about the panel that probed the affair of Muhammad al-Dura: What was the reason, why at this time, and in this way, without questioning the French journalist or taking evidence from the French?

Yaalon answered: “The Muhammad al-Dura incident is significant because it was, in our view, a kind of blood libel. It is significant because, for example, the terrorist in Toulouse said that what motivated him to murder Jews in that city was the ‘killing’ of Muhammad al-Dura.

“For a long time we had difficulty arriving at the truth, but recently we succeeded in obtaining the raw evidence that had been in the hands of the French broadcasters. That same evidence, they saw at the time — and decided not to show it. When we saw the video that revealed that at the Netzarim junction al-Dura had not been killed, we decided to re-open the investigation.

“We had doubts from the beginning, but this evidence enabled us to reach the conclusion that al-Dura was not killed in the Netzarim incident that was filmed. All the more so, the shots that were fired did not come from the Israeli position. It was important to bring out the truth as soon as we arrived at it.

“Regarding the matter of not going to the French, I personally contacted the French ambassador with a request that ‘France 2’ cooperate with the investigation. They decided not to cooperate, but we were able to obtain the evidence on our own, and have brought the truth to light.”