US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived at Ben Gurion Airport early Sunday afternoon and was immediately driven to Jerusalem, a few dozen miles away, to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Kerry is said to be updating Netanyahu on the agreement that has been reached between the US and Russia regarding Syria's chemical weapons, and also about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
In the course of his visit to Israel, Kerry is expected to hear about Israel's concerns regarding the negotiations with Russia and Syria regarding the chemical weapons that have allegedly been used by Israel's northeastern neighbor. According to several reports, Israel will ask that the military option against Syria remain on the table, in order to deter Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from carrying out only part of the agreements he signs, and reneging on the rest.
The US itself has said that it is not removing the military option from its agenda, and that the battleships that have been deployed in the Mediterranean will remain in place in order to make clear that the US is serious about seeing Assad follow through on his commitments.
The US demands that Assad hand over within one week the list of sites in which chemical weapons are being stored, and that it allow completely unfettered international inspection in any location where such inspection is required.
MK Avigdor Lieberman (Likud-Yisrael Beytenu), head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has expressed a lack of optimism regarding Syria’s agreement to sign on the Chemical Weapons Convention.
If Assad fulfills his side of the agreement engineered by Russia and the United States, Israel will welcome it, he told IDF Radio.
However, he said, “It’s obvious that the fighting in Syria won’t end with this agreement. The only thing that has happened is that Assad came out ahead.”