Russia's Vladimir Putin
Photo: AFP

Israeli officials believe no Syrian retaliation imminent

Following special cabinet meeting, officials say Israel has no wish to escalate situation in north; Foreign Ministry prepares for condemnation onslaught for alleged Israeli strike in Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the cabinet ministers on Sunday afternoon for an update regarding the rising tension to the north of Israel, following an alleged Israeli Air Force strike in Damascus on Sunday morning.


After the meeting, one senior official told Ynet: "We have no wish to escalate the current situation. We estimate that the Syrians will not retaliate, and we're now waiting to see what happens.


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"Israeli policy will remain as it was. We'll act according to the need and the red lines set in place," he said.


Meanwhile, Israel has enjoyed a relative diplomatic calm, and though two days have passed since the first alleged air strike into Syria took place, so far no condemnations were issued from non-Muslim or Arab countries.


אש ועשן בפרברי דמשק, לפנות בוקר (צילום: AP)

Fire, smoke in Damascus' suburbs, early morning (Photo: AP) 


But the Foreign Ministry is skeptical the calm will continue, and is preparing for a possibel barrage of condmenation after the Easter holiday ends on Monday.


Israel is mostly concerned with the response from Russia, which has previously severely condemned Israel for attacks alleged to it in Syria.


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A Foreign Ministry official said: "We should remember that the Russians were angry the last time it was claimed Israel attacked. They said Israel is violating the UN charter.


"It's possible they won't say anything this time, since apparently no Russian equipment was destroyed, but if they can do so at the expense of the Americans – they'll criticize us," he added.  


Though Britain has supported Israel earlier on Sunday, citing its right to defend itself, it is still unclear how western European countries will respond – mainly Germany and France.


According to diplomatic circles, the international community, reluctant to intervene in Syria despite the large casualty rate, is worried the situation may deteriorate further.


But despite the importance of European powers in the international arena, the United States is still the main player whose response counts the most.


On Saturday, US President Barack Obama expressed his support for Israel's right for self defense and to prevent weapons trickling to terror groups, but in Jerusalem some believe the US may signal Israel not to stretch the rope too far and escalate the Syrian situation.


At the same time, Israeli diplomatic missions and embassies worldwide raised their security alertness level fearing Hezbollah retaliation.



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פרסום ראשון: 05.05.13, 21:40
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