Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin over the weekend that Israel will hold its fire against Syria – as long as Syria holds its fire against Israel.
In a statement at the opening of the government’s regular Sunday morning Cabinet meeting Netanyahu said he had discussed the situation with Putin in a phone conversation, warning him that “the situation is becoming daily more complex.
“Only last week, we saw battles close to our border on the Golan Heights. Israel is not intervening in the Syrian civil war, as long as fire is not being directed at us,” the prime minister said.
“The crumbling of the U.N. force on the Golan heights underscores the fact that Israel cannot depend on international forces for its security,” however, he pointed out. “They can be part of the arrangements. They cannot be the basic foundation of Israel’s security.”
On another front, Netanyahu added that he would also discuss, once more, the need to jumpstart final status talks with the Palestinian Authority with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that he has already spoken with him about the issue before, and will speak with him about it again.
“Together we will try to advance a way to find an opening for negotiations with the Palestinians with the goal of reaching an agreement. This agreement will be based on a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish State, and on solid security arrangements based on the IDF.
Netanyahu also noted that the government is changing the date for the conclusion of daylight savings time, and listed the accomplishments already reached thus far in the new coalition’s first few months, such as passing the budget and the ‘Open Skies’ agreement, both controversial pieces of legislation that sparked protests.
“I would like to re-emphasize that the citizens of Israel chose us to focus on getting things done, not on petty politics,” he commented with some asperity, “and this we will do.”