Netanyahu: Israel Occasionally Operates in Syria and Lebanon

Russia’s Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30. (Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin)
Russia’s Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30. (Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin)

The cat is out of the bag: Israel occasionally targets terrorist installations as well as weapons’ smugglers in Syria and Lebanon.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded a successful trip to Paris, and traveled straight to the Galilee Conference in Akko, in northern Israel. That was where he made the above revelation, and said that Israel is not involved in the war on the northern border, but from time to time, based on security needs, it operates beyond the borders “in order to prevent weapons transfers and because of the Iranian efforts to build infrastructure in the Golan.”

To date, Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the many reports on foreign media regarding Israeli attacks on terror targets and terror activity in Syria and Lebanon.

Now it is official. “Not only did we attack, we will continue to do so in the future, if we deem it necessary,” Netanyahu declared. That statement was meant to clarify that the Russian presence in Syrian airspace, and in the northern region in general, does not obstruct Israel’s abilities. Said just a few hours after the prime minister met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Paris, these remarks are very significant.

Netanyahu noted that when speaking in Paris, he said that Israel does a lot regarding the environment. “I said that we are very effective in conserving energy and treating water, and are world leaders in this area.”

He then expounded on other aspects of the Paris summit. “When you meet…more than one hundred leaders from all over the world, I want to tell you what I saw: Israel is described as isolated, shunned, disconnected—what I experienced could not be further from the truth. I had a problem at the summit—time. I didn’t have time to meet with the dozens of people who requested to meet me. But I did hold meetings.

“I met President Obama, European leaders, and my friend Narenda Modi, Prime Minister of India. We spoke at length about our continued cooperation between Israel and India…We spoke about economics, security, cyber, scientific cooperation, agriculture, water. I also spoke with African leaders, the Prime Minister of Japan, and the leaders of Australia and South American countries, including Arab leaders…”

“It’s hard to describe Israel status in the world today, because the world faces two tremendous challenges: radical Islam and the terror that is affecting the whole world. Israel has made a name for itself in this battle, and they want to cooperate with us. We have a lot to offer. The other thing is the technological advancement, which we are also deeply involved in.

“It’s like two huge elephants attacking one another: advancement and barbarism. The problem is that the barbarism utilizes some technological advancements, and then these two elephants are running together. One example is the use of information networks by ISIS. And one country stands out in the effort to tackle both challenges, and that is Israel.

“They come to speak to us about all these areas as a source of information and experience…Our start-up companies have earned a reputation, as have our agricultural developments, medical advances and innovations in life sciences, desertification and water treatment. There is nothing that interests these countries that Israel doesn’t have what to offer, and that’s why they come to us.”

“Now, we have problems, especially with part of the European Union institutions. There’s a gap that I have to channel so that the public dialogue will begin to get closer to reality. We have a dispute reading the Palestinians with some countries. Some of them take an interest, especially a few Western European countries and the European Union, which have decided to market our products. My reaction was: If you freeze, then we suspend all talks on the subject of the Palestinians with you, because you are disconnected. They think that our dispute with the Palestinians is territorial—it’s not. If it was only that, it would have long been resolved. It’s a dispute about our existence, the existence of the State of Israel in any borders, a nation state of the Jewish nation whichever borders it may have.

“But the Europeans don’t understand this. But all the rest, the leaders, including European leaders, mostly understand it very well. And they take an interest in their own problems, and there, they see Israel as a strategic ally. Israel is returning to Africa, it is entering Asia, and Asia is coming to Israel, and the same is true with other countries.

“This is all happening alongside our pact with the United States, and whoever described or expected our relations to collapse…Well, people today realize that that was a mistake. Israel has its special international status. That’s the strongest impression I bring back from Paris, without minimizing the points of discord that we have. But this is the bigger picture, and what I am trying to do is to coordinate and adapt this cooperation on matters of interest and turn them into advantages and use them to prevent problems.

“I spoke to President Putin; I think that now everyone understands the importance of my trip to Moscow a few weeks ago, to ensure that our interests do not clash.”

It was at this point that Netanyahu stopped and seemed to deliberate whether to continue—then he decided to reveal that Israel operates occasionally in Syria “in order to prevent it from become a front against us, a second terror front to what Iran is trying to build in the Golan. We also work to prevent the transfer of especially lethal weapons from Syria to Lebanon. We will continue to do so…It was important for me to meet with Putin so that we prevent a collision between IDF forces and Russian forces…and it was done directly and without any proxies…”

Netanyahu then went on to speak about the development in the Galilee and what the government is doing to strengthen the region, in areas of transportation, economic development, construction of new neighborhoods, encouraging tourism, opening new academic institutions, developing industry and jobs, and more.