Netanyahu: Israel Doing All That's Necessary to Prevent Attacks From Syria

Speaking to Jewish community leaders in Moscow, the prime minister says Israel isn't meddling in Assad's future but will ensure Syria doesn't become a 'launching pad' for attacks by Syrian, Iranian or Islamist forces.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during a meeting with representatives of a local Jewish community in Moscow, Russia, June 8, 2016.
Sergei Karpukhin, Reuters

MOSCOW - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that his policy toward Syria is to take all the necessary action to ensure that no attacks are carried out against Israel.

Netanyahu made the remarks during a meeting with Jewish community leaders in Moscow.

Asked about the future of Israel's ties with Bashar Assad, Netanyahu said that a more apt question would touch on the Syrian president's future in general. 

"Israel isn't meddling in this question," he said. "We ensure that Syria doesn't become a launching pad for attacks against Israel. Not for Syrian forces, not for Iranian forces, not for Hezbollah forces and not for Islamist forces. We have enough enemies. 

"My policy is to take all the necessary steps to prevent attacks," he said. "From time to time we take action, as necessary."

The prime minister also said that he had ordered the construction of a field hospital that treated "thousands of Syrians" with serious injuries. Israel offers "humanitarian aid while firmly maintaining our positions on Israel's security." 

Netanyahu further stated that the collpase of regimes in the Mideast warrants a "new arrangement."

"Some of the countries around us, including Syria, have already fallen apart, and this is why a new arrangement is necessary," he said. "I have discussed this at length with President Putin. It's important that what takes [the fallen governments'] place doesn’t result in any more tragedies and doesn't put our countries at risk." 

Netanyahu travelled to Moscow to mark the 25th anniversary of relations between Israel and Russia. He met with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, the fourth meeting between the two in the last year. 

Speaking to press after that meeting, Netanyahu said he spoke to the Russian leader about continued enhanced coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and Russian army forces operating in Syria. "It's coordination that works well to avoid unnecessary encounters as well as to ensure that we are acting against the forces in Syria that are endangering us all," Netanyahu said.