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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs