Israel must take action

Source: Israel must take action – Israel Hayom

The most notable aspect of Saturday’s events in Syria and Israel’s north is that they were initiated by Iran. Early that morning, Iran sent a drone toward Israeli territory. Israel observed the drone until it reached a point where it could be intercepted, inside Israeli territory.

But there is also the possibility that Israel fell into a premeditated trap. As a result of the drone’s launch, Israeli fighter jets took to the air and something very grave transpired: An F-16 jet was shot down deep inside Israeli territory over the Beit Netofa Valley. Nothing like has ever happened before. Was this an ambush? Aerial warfare experts think this could very well be the case.

Beyond the Iranian aggression, this was the first time Israel paid a price for its actions inside Syria, which have been aimed at stopping the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and thwarting Iran’s military establishment there. We also saw that when the Iranians initiate an operation, and it is more than just a stray mortar shell, it does not have to result in war. Several of the anti-aircraft missiles fired at our aircraft landed inside Israel.

Another thing we saw was the diplomatic activity, the warnings relayed to Russian President Vladmir Putin, the severe threats from Israeli ministers as well as Israel’s successful and prolonged military activity, none of which really served to deter the Iranians. In fact, the opposite might be true. It could be that the Israeli assertions, voiced in the highest of octaves, were the reason they decided to make it clear they are not deterred by Israel’s threats. Russia’s audacious response, which spoke of Syrian sovereignty while ignoring Israeli sovereignty, makes it seem as if Putin is not troubled by the possibility of a nice little war between Israel and Iran.

Although Israel took out anti-aircraft missile systems and a few Iranian targets deep inside Syria, as well as bases where there is a Russian military presence, it did not ultimately touch Hezbollah. Those targets still exist inside Lebanon. If Iran’s conduct over the weekend is any indication, one can safely assume that a solution to the precision missile manufacturing plants on Lebanese soil will not be achieved through diplomatic channels. That is, of course, where things are headed.

Up until Saturday, there was a sense that Israeli activity had entered a type of routine. One could at times forget the significance of the Israeli assessment, which held that Israel could not allow the creation of a new front in Syria. This is the statement that for the past two years could be heard from senior IDF officials and members of the political echelon. On Saturday, the meaning of this decision sunk in. Sometimes it is not the enemy but the Israeli public that needs to internalize Israel’s intentions.

Ultimately, the good relationship and understandings between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladmir Putin only help to alleviate a situation that has worsened considerably on Israel’s northern front. Because it was only after Russia’s military establishment in Syria two years ago that the Iranians were able to gradually consolidate their grip on the country. These developments have fundamentally worsened Israel’s strategic situation. As predicted in September 2015, the Israeli Air Force’s freedom of action was reduced with the entry into Syria of the Russians and their advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

Strikes on anti-aircraft missile batteries have become nothing short of an integrated intelligence operation. In many cases, such actions involve more military components than just the plane and the control tower. The combination of the attempt to create an additional front against Israel on the Golan Heights together with Hezbollah’s precision missile capabilities demand Israel take action to eradicate these threats.

In the past two years, Israel has repeatedly stated it would not allow the creation of a second front against it in Syria. On Saturday, the significance of this decision finally sank in.

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