A Syrian official has admitted that the Israeli operation on September 6 destroyed a nuclear facility - but the admission was followed shortly afterwards by a Syrian government denial.
A Syrian representative said Tuesday at the United Nations that reports that the target was a nuclear device were accurate. Syrian officials, including President Bashar Assad had previously claimed that Israel attacked an abandoned army base or an agricultural facility.
During a meeting of the UN Disarmament Commission, the Syrian representative acknowledged that the target had been the nuclear facility. Israeli Foreign Ministry officials were also attending. He accused Israel of aggression for targeting the facility.
In Israel, details of the strike, beyond the fact that an operation took place on September 6 in Syria, are still under gag order. Local media continue to skirt the order by leaking information to foreign papers and then citing their reports.
Former Education Director Against Nature/History Hikes in Golan
Some analysts have said the reason for the continued silence of the Israeli government on the September 6 attack is to avoid humiliating Assad and leading to a possible military escalation.
Dr. Elon Liel, a former Director General of the Foreign Ministry, has gone one step further in his hope for a conciliatory approach to Israel’s northern neighbor, sending a letter to Education Minister Yuli Tamir asking her to prevent high school students from participating in the “In the Footsteps of the Warriors” tours in the Golan Heights. Liel said he feared the tours would strengthen the students’ connection to the Golan. He called the tours “a provocation,” saying Israel would discourage Syria from negotiating an Israeli retreat from the Golan.
Brigadier-General Avigdor Kahalani, who participated in the liberation of the Golan and the creation of the “In the Footsteps of the Warriors” tours, rejected Liel’s demand as “nothing more than a leftist initiative.” The tours are important to the students’ morale and strengthen their sense of identification with IDF soldiers who fought in previous wars, he said. “A bus full of students is not a provocation.”