After Missile Attack on Iranian Weapons in Syria, Netanyahu Promotes Preemptive Strikes

The Israel-Iran conflict continues. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up piece of Iranian UAV in February. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Israel reportedly bombed an Iranian airplane delivering weapons to Syria at the Damascus International Airport on Saturday, as well as weapons storage rooms at the airport, in the latest round in of conflict between Israel and Iran. The Times of Israel—citing Hadashot TV news, Syrian media and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in their report—said the arms cache near the airport had been intended for either Iranians or Hezbollah.

Just hours after the strike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vaguely reiterated that Israel is “constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry.” Said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Sunday, “Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”

The warning from Israel’s leader followed expressions of his support for preemptive strikes in an effort to protect Israel from a more grievous war. One of the worst conflicts in Israel’s history was the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and with the Jewish anniversary of that fight coming up, Netanyahu said the failure to strike first was a critical error that would not be repeated.

“Forty-five years ago, intelligence erred by holding to a mistaken assessment regarding the war intentions of Egypt and Syria. When these intentions became clear beyond all doubt, and when the danger was on our very doorstep, the political leadership made a grievous mistake by not allowing a preemptive strike,” said Netanyahu. “We will never repeat this mistake.”

The Israeli leader noted that the Yom Kippur War resulted in thousands of Israeli casualties, and while war is terrible, sometimes there is no other choice.

“We must do everything to prevent war. Its victims destroy the lives of families and they are a gaping wound in the heart of the nation,” said Netanyahu. “However, if war is forced upon us, we must do everything to win with minimal losses.”

According to reports, Israel has launched hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria in an effort to prevent Iran from establishing a military base in Israel’s northern neighbor, as well as to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining advanced weapons.

While Israel generally does not accept responsibility for specific strikes, Netanyahu regularly speaks of Israel’s “red lines” in Syria and warns against Iranian influence in the region.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, September 16, 2018)




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