Speaking with Israeli soldiers on Golan Heights, PM Benjamin Netanyahu says, “We act when we have to act, including here and across the border” • Netanyahu tells world powers: Israel will not hand over the Golan Heights to anyone.
Israel has carried out dozens of strikes in Syria to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry to the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged on Monday during a visit to the Golan Heights.
Speaking with a group of reservists from the Paratroopers Brigade, Netanyahu said, “We act when we have to act, including here and across the border, with dozens of strikes, to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring game-changing weaponry. We also act on other fronts, both near and far, and we do so intelligently.
“If we need to go to war, and this possibility stands before us and because of that you are here, it’s because we weren’t able to prevent dangers to the State of Israel in any other way.
“This is our country, we must defend it, and no one will defend it for us except ourselves.”
Netanyahu praised the soldiers for allowing routine life to continue in northern Israel while chaos reigns across the border in Syria.
“We have Islamic State just across the fence here and Hezbollah just across the fence here and there,” Netanyahu said. “We have Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and global jihadists and Islamic State in Sinai. We are proud that in this stormy and turbulent Middle East, we’ve succeeded in preserving relative quiet for Israel.”
While in the Golan Heights on Monday, Netanyahu viewed part of a military exercise and was briefed by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan and GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.
Meanwhile, as world powers continue to try to find a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing civil war in Syria, it appears that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, who currently controls only around one-fifth of his country, is demanding territorial concessions from Israel.
Reports say that a negotiated settlement in Syria could designate the entire Golan Heights (the western two-thirds of which Israel took control of from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed in 1981) as Syrian territory.
Upon hearing of this, Netanyahu reacted harshly, saying in closed-door conversations that Syria could “forget about” getting the Golan Heights back.
Netanyahu recently spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about the matter, telling Kerry: “This won’t happen.” He also informed Kerry: “Israel will not hand over the Golan Heights to anyone.” The prime minister said Assad’s demand was ridiculous and surprising given the fact that Israel has been able to maintain quiet on the strategic plateau in recent years.
Netanyahu plans to express similar sentiments when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week.
Shlomo Cesana, Lilach Shoval, Israel Hayom Staff and Reuters
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