Is­raeli MKs Warn As­sad: Get Iran Out of Syria Or Face Pos­si­ble As­sas­si­na­tion

The Jewish Voice - - ISRAEL - By: TPS Staff

Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter Yis­rael Katz said Mon­day that Is­rael would con­tinue to em­ploy a com­bi­na­tion of mil­i­tary and diplo­matic ac­tiv­i­ties in or­der to drive the Ira­nian mil­i­tary out of Syria, while En­ergy Min­is­ter Yu­val Steinitz threat­ened to as­sas­si­nate Syrian pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad and top­ple the Alaw­ite regime there if he does not re-as­sert Da­m­as­cus' sovereignty over the coun­try by push­ing Ira­nian forces back into their home coun­try.

Speak­ing to Army Ra­dio against the back­drop of re­ports Sun­day by de­fense of­fi­cials be­lieve that Iran is pre­par­ing a bar­rage of mis­siles to launch against Is­raeli mil­i­tary po­si­tions from Syrian ter­ri­tory, Katz re­peated Is­rael's of­fi­cial pol­icy of nei­ther con­firm­ing or deny­ing com­plic­ity in re­cent at­tacks on Syrian and Ira­nian forces in west­ern Syria. But he said that Is­rael has been fol­low­ing Ira­nian move­ments and ac­tions in Syria for a long time and added that the Se­cu­rity Cab­i­net is com­mit­ted to pre­vent­ing the Is­lamic Repub­lic from be­com­ing en­trenched in the coun­try.

“This is a se­ri­ous threat,” Katz said. “We have de­cided to use a com­bi­na­tion of mil­i­tary and diplo­matic means to pres­sure Iran to get out of Syria, while also try­ing to avoid a clash with (Ira­nian ally) Rus­sia. We also want to drive a wedge, as far as pos­si­ble, be­tween Iran and Le­banon.

“We are not look­ing for a con­flict, but we are not afraid of one, ei­ther. If Iran (picks a fight) with us… they will get hurt, much more than we will,” he added.

Also Mon­day, Steinitz – also a mem­ber of the se­cu­rity cab­i­net – told the He­brew-lan­guage Ynet news site that Is­rael would not hes­i­tate to kill Syrian Pres­i­dent As­sad if the lat­ter con­tin­ued to let Iran op­er­ate from Syrian ter­ri­tory.

“Up to now Is­rael has not in­ter­vened in the civil war in Syria. But if As­sad al­lows Iran to turn Syria into a for­ward mil­i­tary base against Is­rael and to at­tack Is­rael from Syria, he should be aware that it will be the end.”

Fol­low­ing the in­ter­view, Steinitz said in a state­ment that his threat to as­sas­si­nate As­sad “re­flects [his] per­sonal po­si­tion,” rather than of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

Re­gard­ing Prime Min­is­ter Binyamin Ne­tanyahu's planned meet­ing on Wednesday with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in Mos­cow Steinitz said Ne­tanyahu has de­vel­oped a warm re­la­tion­ship with Putin that is un­prece­dented in the an­nals of Is­rael-Rus­sia ties, and said the

im­por­tance of that re­la­tion­ship can­not be over­looked.

“Rus­sia is an im­por­tant power, and we have many com­mon in­ter­ests with them, even if there are some­times. Ev­ery­one must un­der­stand that Is­rael has red lines. Any­one who wants As­sad to re­main in power had bet­ter tell him (As­sad) to pre­vent mis­sile at­tacks and drone at­tacks on Is­rael ” Steinitz said in the in­ter­view.

Ac­cord­ing to yes­ter­day's re­ports, Iran's al­leged re­venge op­er­a­tion would be guided by Gen­eral Qasem Soleimani, an of­fi­cer in the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps (IRGC) and com­man­der of its Quds Force, a divi­sion pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for ex­trater­ri­to­rial mil­i­tary and clan­des­tine op­er­a­tions.

The ten­sions be­tween Is­rael and Iran have risen steadily since Fe­bru­ary when an Ira­nian drone armed with ex­plo­sives was downed by the Is­raeli air force over Is­raeli airspace and last month's at­tack on the T4 mil­i­tary base in Homs.

Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter Yis­rael Katz said Mon­day that Is­rael would con­tinue to em­ploy a com­bi­na­tion of mil­i­tary and diplo­matic ac­tiv­i­ties in or­der to drive the Ira­nian mil­i­tary out of Syria

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