Israel rejects Russia and US ceasefire in Syria

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02: In this handout provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2015 Policy Conference, March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Tomorrow March 3rd Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of the US Congress. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02: In this handout provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2015 Policy Conference, March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Tomorrow March 3rd Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of the US Congress. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)

Yesterday, a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded in Paris. At the press conference after the meeting, PM said that Israel rejected the ceasefire in southwestern Syria brokered by Russia and the U.S., Israeli news site Haaretz reported.

Taking such a strange stance, Netanyahu pointed out that the truce agreement in the de-escalation zones increase Iran’s presence in Syria. Some sources claim that Tel-Aviv is especially displeased with the fact that the agreement removes the Iranian forces 20 kilometers from the border while Iran’s presence in the country is not excluded.

Moreover, Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper quotes some diplomatic sources claiming Iran is up to establish air, land and sea bases in Syria and Lebanon. In its turn, Politico stresses that Israeli politicians are wary of a land corridor in Iran allegedly plans to set up to directly support Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Tehran is one of Israel’s main rivals and the recent hysteria about Iran’s military presence near Israeli borders seems quite logical. However, is it wise of Netanyahu not only to confront Russia and the U.S. but also to display contempt for peace in a neighboring state?

Clearly, it’s not the first time Israel assault on Syria. Provocations on the Syria-Israel border have become quite common, and Tel-Aviv has been numerously criticized for supporting the armed opposition. For instance, on June 19, 2016, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Israel secretly aided the militants to maintain the buffer zone on the Golan Heights.

Recently, more and more experts conclude that the situation in Syria is beginning to remind of a post-war period. This is an achievement of Damascus and its allies which reached a fairly stable truce in many areas. One of the main successes of the diplomatic process became the de-escalation zones in southern Syria, and one can only hope that Israel will confine itself to words and won’t star destabilizing the situation for its goals.

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