Netanyahu: Israel won’t intervene in Syria if not targeted

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will not intervene in the Syrian civil war if Israel is not targeted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also told his Cabinet at its weekly meeting Sunday that the situation in Syria shows Israel cannot depend on others for  its security.

Netanyahu said the Syria situation is “becoming daily more complex.”

“Only last week, we saw battles close to our border on the Golan Heights,” he told the Cabinet. “Israel is not intervening in the Syrian civil war as long as fire is not being directed at us.

Netanyahu said he spoke over the weekend about the Syria situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who offered to replace the 280 Austrian peacekeepers being withdrawn from the United Nations force on the Golan Heights with Russian troops. Austria recalled its troops following intensified fighting on the Syria border with Israel.

The United Nations on Friday turned down Russia’s offer.

“The crumbling of the U.N. force on the Golan Heights underscores the fact that Israel cannot depend on international forces for its security,” Netanyahu said. “They can be part of the arrangements. They cannot be the basic foundation of Israel’s security.”

In turning down Russia’s offer on the peacekeepers, the United Nations said the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Syria bars permanent members of the U.N. Security Council from serving on the 1,000-strong force. Syria and Israel have been observing a cease-fire for four decades.

Israel complained to the peacekeeping force on June 6 about Syrian tanks being used and left in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria as part of the fighting in Syria’s two-year civil war.

Later in the day, Netanyahu said Israel was in search of a “digital Iron Dome” to protect against increased cyber attacks on Israeli computers, including national computer systems.

Netanyahu in his address to the the annual international cyber security conference at Tel Aviv University said  Israel’s water, power and banking websites had come under attack.

“These attacks are carried out directly by Iran and through its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah,” Netanyahu said.

He said most of the attacks have been thwarted.

Netanyahu said he and President Obama spoke about collaborating on preventing cyber attacks during the U.S. leader’s March visit to Israel.

 

 

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