Israel’s Latest (Possible) Strike in Syria Shows That It Won’t be Cowed by Russia

Early Saturday morning, it appears that Israeli jets destroyed an Iranian base located in Syria. Jerusalem, as a rule, does not take credit for such strikes, but to Ron Ben-Yishai there is little reason to doubt its responsibility. He explains the logic behind the attack:

Israel will not allow an Iranian military presence of any kind in Syria. The fact the Russians and the Iranians ignored that message in talks that Vladimir Putin held with the leaders of Iran and Turkey was likely what prompted Israel to reinforce its message [with action]. . . .

[The Iranian] base, which is near the town of al-Kiswah, fifteen kilometers southwest of Damascus, was supposed to house some 500 militia fighters operating in Syria on Iranian orders. The base is some 50 kilometers from the Golan Heights, and while it’s not close enough to pose a direct threat to Israel, it certainly constitutes an important and clear component in Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. . . . [W]hile the al-Kiswah base has yet to be populated, it is safe to assume there was already Iranian “representation” there at the time of the strike—a few Iranian military and Revolutionary Guards personnel, no more. It was apparently enough for Israel.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, recently said that Iranian (and Russian) military presence in Syria was “legitimate,” because the Assad regime, which is the legal government, invited them. But Jerusalem is not bound by Moscow’s declarations. For Israel, as recent events and declarations make clear, a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria is a red line that will not be accepted, even in its initial stages. The obvious conclusion is that it’s better to handle a problem when it is still small than to bomb this facility when it is fully manned, causing many casualties.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations