Jerusalem claims new US/Russian brokered ceasefire deal fails to provide secure Golan border.
By: World Israel News, AP and JNS.org
Israel has voiced sharp objections to a Syrian ceasefire deal because it enables Iranian forces gain a stronghold in areas close to Israel’s borders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had intensively lobbied in Moscow and Washington for the agreement to create a 37-50 mile secure buffer zone between Israel and Syria, apparently to no avail.
“Israel has no objection to a (peace) agreement in Syria, but we are firmly opposed to such an agreement in which Iran and its proxies will be left with a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin in May.
Israeli Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi said Sunday that the agreement “does not answer Israel’s unequivocal demands that there will be no developments that bring Iranian or Hezbollah forces closer to Israel’s border with Syria in the north.”
The US, Russia and Jordan negotiated the deal designed to reach a new cease-fire agreement in southern Syria that will create a “de-escalation zone” adjacent to Israel’s border, where Iran and Hezbollah, its terror proxy, will not be allowed to establish themselves.
A joint US-Russian statement on Saturday confirmed the “de-escalation areas” as an interim step toward reducing violence, enforcing cease-fire agreements, facilitating humanitarian aid and setting conditions for the “ultimate political solution” to the civil war in Syria which has ravaged the country for the past six years.
However, Israel is apprehensive of the deal because Iran is allowed to establish itself 7km (4.5 miles) from it northern border, a distance Jerusalem insists is not satisfactory for its security needs.
Israeli media quoted a US official as saying that all non-Syrian fighters, including Iranian sponsored forces, would be expelled from the area near Israel’s border and eventually from all of Syria. He did not provide a timetable for the crucial move.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani stated that the new cease-fire deal is based on a previous cease-fire that was brokered by the US and Russia in July .
While Israel has refrained from directly intervening in the Syrian conflict, it has carried out strikes against Hezbollah, Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria to neutralize immediate threats to its security.