Netanyahu Told Macron: Israel Won't Tolerate Iranian Missile Factories at Its Border

The prime minister warned the French president of Tehran's entrenchment in neighboring countries, saying that everyone could benefit from closer security cooperation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a joint news conference following their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on December 10, 2017.
PHILIPPE WOJAZER / AFP

PARIS – In his Sunday meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian attempt to establish a military presence in Syria.

To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

Netanyahu also said Israel will not tolerate Iran's efforts to take control of Lebanon and manufacture large quantities of precision-range missiles aimed at Israel.

In a one-on-one meeting that went on for three hours, the two leaders also discussed the international nuclear agreement with Iran, the subject of economic sanctions and closer security cooperation from which everyone would benefit, it was noted. They also spoke about economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

On the subject of Jerusalem, the Israeli prime minister told the French president that U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was important for peace because, as the prime minister put it, it would bring people down to reality. The Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem would be internationalized is one of the major obstacles to peace, Netanyahu said.

Last week, shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump gave his speech about Jerusalem on Wednesday, Macron was the first European leader to call him and warn about the potential regional impact of unilaterally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital only. On Sunday, Macron became the first leader to host Netanyahu after the announcement. 

Last Friday, Israeli warplanes struck a military base near the Syrian capital of Damascus overnight, Syrian state television confirmed. 

According to pro-Assad news outlets, the target of the attack was an Iranian military base near the city of Al-Kiswa, located some 13 kilometers south of Damascus.

Syria's air-defense system fired missiles at an Israeli aircraft which reportedly launched the attack from Lebanese airspace, Sky News Arabia reported.

A satellite photo shows the extent of damage caused by the alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian military base in Syria
ImageSat International (ISI)

Syrian state media has confirmed that an attack took place, and claimed that two Israeli surface-to-surface missiles had also been intercepted by Syrian air defenses. The report did not divulge further details as to the attack's target or of casualties sustained. The Syrian government has yet to comment.

According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization affiliated with the country's opposition, heavy explosions were heard in the Damascus area and electricity was cut off in several parts of the city.