First Published: 2012-11-11


Netanyahu: Israel ready for any Syria development


Israel is ‘ready for any development’, Netanyahu says shortly before mortar round from Syria lands in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.


Middle East Online

‘We are closely monitoring what is happening’

JERUSALEM - Israel is "ready for any development" on the Syrian border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday shortly before a mortar round from Syria landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"We are closely monitoring what is happening on our border with Syria and there too we are ready for any development," he told his ministers at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting.

Shortly after Netanyahu's remarks, Israeli security sources said a mortar round fired inside Syria exploded in the Golan.

Israel seized the territory from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.

Sunday's mortar hit, the latest in a string of incidents in which fire has spilled from Syria across the ceasefire line, was near the town of Alonei Habashan, causing no casualties or damage, the security sources said.

On Thursday, three stray mortar rounds from Syria hit the Golan, prompting deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon to warn Damascus that Israel would act to defend its sovereignty if fighting continued to spill over.

"We see the Syrian regime as responsible for what is happening along the border," said Yaalon, a senior cabinet minister and former armed forces chief of staff.

"We know how to defend the citizens and the sovereignty of the State of Israel."

On Monday, an Israeli military vehicle patrolling the buffer zone was hit by gunfire, with the army acknowledging it was caused by "stray bullets."

No one was wounded but the incident prompted an Israeli complaint to the United Nations Security Council in which it described the gunfire as a "grave violation" of a 1974 agreement on security in the buffer zone.

Two days earlier, three Syrian tanks entered Bir Ajam village, five kilometres (three miles) southeast of Quneitra, in the demilitarised zone, sparking another Israeli complaint to the UN.

Since Israel and Syria signed the 1974 disengagement agreement, a 1,200-strong unarmed UN force has patrolled the buffer zone.


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