'No need to pretend that we're not behind Syria airstrikes'

Likud MK explains PM Netanyahu's decision to formally announce Israel's responsibility for attack on Iranian base in Syria.

Benny Toker ,

Kish (left) and Netanyahu
Kish (left) and Netanyahu
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Is Israel ending its policy of not assuming responsibility for military operations inside of Syria?

A Likud lawmaker told Arutz Sheva Sunday that the usefulness of the country’s ‘policy of ambiguity’ had declined, and that there was less of a need to avoid openly accepting responsibility for airstrikes on targets in Syria.

In the past, Israel has refrained from claiming responsibility for such airstrikes, in the hopes that in so doing it could avoid forcing the Assad regime to feel compelled to respond in kind.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu broke with his country’s long-standing policy of not publicly accepting responsibility for airstrikes in Syria, announcing that Israel’s air force had attacked Iranian weapons depots at the Damascus International Airport over the past few days.

"Only in the past 36 hours the air force attacked storehouses of Iran with Iranian weapons at the Damascus international airport," Netanyahu revealed.

"We are more determined than ever to act against Iran in Syria, just as we promised. Overnight, the air force also attacked in Gaza, and this morning we announced the discovery of the tunnel in the north, possibly the most important one to cross the border into our territory.

Later on Sunday, MK Yoav Kish (Likud), explained the sudden departure from Israel’s ‘policy of ambiguity’ regarding operations in Syria.

“Everyone knows that the State of Israel is fighting against Iran and [Iran’s] efforts to entrench itself in Syria, so to some extent this ambiguity is no longer useful. Add to that the fact that our outgoing IDF Chief of Staff himself said recently that hundreds if not thousands of Iranian targets in Syria have been hit. So I think that to some extent, there is a feeling that maintaining ambiguity is unnecessary.”

“What is important is to convey the message that the State of Israel will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria. That is the policy the Prime Minister has pursued, and it is the correct policy – and a crucial one.”