Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
said Monday that Bashar Assad
controls only 40% of Syria's territory. At his first appearance before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Ya'alon said, "There are at least four neighborhoods in Damascus under rebel control."
Earlier in the meeting, committee chairman Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman
said that security issues take precedence over standard of living issues.
"In the past month we've been dealing with the question of the standard of living. I want to remind everyone that the main question is the question of our very right to live here in peace and security," the former foreign minister said. "The security challenges are the greatest since the state's establishment."
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (Photo: Ariel Hermoni)
Ya'alon said that it is Israel's policy not to intervene in the Syrian civil war "as long as our interests are not compromised through the transfer of advanced weapons, missiles or chemical arms to Hezbollah
or acts that might cause a regional flare-up.
"We are carefully monitoring the possibility that Syria
will transfer the S-300 missile system to Syria. According to reports, the system has yet to be transferred and if it does it will only be in 2014.
Addressing the Palestinian issue, Ya'alon said that Israel
is willing to enter into negotiations "as long as there are no preconditions" adding that it will discuss all relevant issues, not just borders. "Within several weeks were will know whether there will be negotiations."
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