News / Middle East

Netanyahu: Israel Aims to Stay out of Syria Conflict

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, June 9, 2013.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, June 9, 2013.
Reuters
Israel aims to stay out of Syria's civil war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, despite violence eroding security on the Golan Heights border area.
    
The strategic plateau, most of which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, saw fierce fighting last week between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and Syrian rebels near the armistice line patrolled by U.N. peacekeepers.
    
"Israel is not getting involved in the civil war in Syria, as long as the fire is not directed at us," Netanyahu told his cabinet in broadcast remarks.
    
Israel has conducted at least three air strikes on suspected Syrian depots for weaponry in transit to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and its forces have occasionally shelled Syrian positions in response to shooting at the Israeli side of the Golan.
    
Austria, a major contributor to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), said last week it would withdraw its troops from Golan due to the worsening fighting in Syria, putting the mission in doubt.
    
A United Nations peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch fighting between forces loyal to and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Golan Heights, June 7, 2013.A United Nations peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch fighting between forces loyal to and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Golan Heights, June 7, 2013.
x
A United Nations peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch fighting between forces loyal to and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Golan Heights, June 7, 2013.
A United Nations peacekeeping soldier uses binoculars to watch fighting between forces loyal to and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from the Golan Heights, June 7, 2013.
Netanyahu used the situation on the Golan to buttress his long-standing call for an Israeli military presence along the eastern Jordan River border of any future Palestinian state.
    
"The crumbling of the U.N. force on the Golan drives home the fact that Israel cannot rely on international forces for its security," Netanyahu said.
    
He said he would raise the issue with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, expected to return to the region in the coming week to try to revive talks on Palestinian statehood.
    
Israeli cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said, "We are seeing now what the Austrian forces on the Golan Heights are worth. Israel cannot trust international forces, and sometimes, as it happens, their presence during crises is more burdensome than useful."
    
Netanyahu said he had spoken during the weekend with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Syria, but gave no details. Moscow is Assad's main big-power ally, whose advanced arms supplied to Damascus worry Israel.
    
A Russian offer to replace Austrian peacekeepers on the Golan was turned down on Friday by the United Nations as the mandate excludes permanent members of the Security Council.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid