Israeli Energy Minister: We Will Not Allow Transfer of Strategic Weapons From Syria to Hizbullah

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Israel does not want to provoke a military "escalation" with Syria but will not allow it to transfer strategic arms to groups like Hizbullah, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

"There is no need to provoke an escalation, there is no need to heat up the border with Syria, that was not our objective and it will never be," Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom told public radio.

Asked about Moscow's plans to supply S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, Shalom said they would only become a problem if they fell into the wrong hands.

"Syria has had strategic weapons for years, but the problem arises when these arms fall into other hands and could be used against us. In that case, we would have to act," he said.

Moscow has defended its arms shipments to Damascus, describing them as a "stabilizing factor" which could act as a deterrent against foreign intervention.

Shalom's remarks were made a day after Netanyahu ordered his cabinet to stay silent on the issue of Russian arms shipments to Syria in a bid to reduce tensions with Damascus and Moscow.

Earlier this week, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that Israel would "know what do to" if Russia fulfilled the delivery of the S-300 anti-aircraft system.

His words appeared to be a veiled allusion to military action along the lines of several strikes carried out on Syrian soil earlier which targeted weapons from Iran destined for Hizbullah.

Meanwhile, Israel's National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror recently met European Union ambassadors to explain clearly what Israel's red lines were in respect to the S-300 system, Haaretz newspaper said on Thursday.

Amidror said Israel would not stop the delivery of the system but would act "to prevent the S-300 from becoming operational" on Syrian soil, according to the report.

"We are not interested in intervening or influencing the situation inside Syria," he told them.

"We will only act when need to protect our security and thus we will prevent in the future the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizbullah."

After the end of an annual civil defense drill on Thursday, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel was surrounded by "tens of thousands of missiles and rockets that could hit our home front."

Netanyahu pointed to the eight-day confrontation between Israel and Hamas militants in November, during which rockets from Gaza hit near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the first time, as "a small example of the substantial changes in modes of attack."

"We must prepare defensively and offensively for the new era of warfare," Netanyahu stressed. "The Israeli home front is more accessible to the enemy than it has been."

Comments 4
Thumb benzona 30 May 2013, 15:48

Perhaps after seeing all this the time has come for the Sunni world and the Israelis to ally themselves against the Shiite threats and the Sunni threats (hezb Ebola, Assad, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen) and free their people.

Thumb lebneneh 30 May 2013, 16:30

Your sectarian vision of everything is repulsive...we need less people who think like you...tfeh!

Thumb benzona 30 May 2013, 17:47

Of everything.. .? Just of threats that should be removed. Christians in the middle east don't represent a threat, Jews in Israel are more democratic than we are, only Sunni and Shia are hijacked by terrorists. We should deal with the terrorists, not the regular citizens.

Missing phillipo 30 May 2013, 17:18

It is about time that the mature Arab populations(the Sunni) realised that Israel can be a lot more of a friend than an enemy.