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Yaalon Clarifies: Syria Intervention Not Israel’s Affair

Defense Minister: Chemical weapons attack was America’s ‘red line’, not ours; denies Israel encouraging Syria strike.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/3/2013, 5:21 PM

Netanyahu and Yaalon
Netanyahu and Yaalon
Flash 90

Israel is not encouraging America to get involved in Syria, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday during a visit to an IDF base in the town of Beit El.

“We aren’t getting involved in what is happening in Syria. What happened there crossed a red line from the Americans’ perspective, but we aren’t supporting, or involved in, a possible strike,” he clarified.

Over the weekend, officials in the Obama administration reportedly urged a strike against Syria by saying that it will help protect Israel.

Israel’s approach to the situation remains what it has been since the beginning of the conflict in Syria: to avoid involvement, but to remain alert, Yaalon said.

“Our eyes are looking northward,” he declared.

Yaalon noted that IDF reservists who were called up last week following a chemical weapons attack in Syria have been released from duty. The call-up had added fuel to rumors of an impending US-led strike on Syria, which many Israelis feared could lead to a Syrian attack on Israel.

During his visit, he was asked about Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s negotiations with Palestinian Authority leaders, and the possibility of an interim agreement.

“Next week it will be 20 years since the Oslo Accords. The negotiations with the Palestinians will be keeping us busy for years to come,” Yaalon predicted.

“There will be a lot of speculation along the way, but that’s not on the table,” he added.