Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting by announcing that he had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend about Syria.
Putin said last week Moscow still intends to ship the controversial S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria, despite objections from Israel and the United States.
“We discussed issues related to Syria, where the situation is becoming daily more complex. Only last week, we saw battles close to out border on the Golan Heights. Israel is not intervening in the Syrian civil war, as long as fire is not being directed at us,” he said.
Addressing the tenuous situation involving UN peacekeeping forces along the Syrian border, Netanyahu said that only Israel would be able to maintain its own security.
“The crumbling of the UN force on the Golan Heights underscores the fact that Israel cannot depend on international forces for its security. They can be part of the arrangements. They cannot be the basic foundation of Israel’s security,” he said.
On Thursday Austria said it would pull its troops from a UN peacekeeping mission serving in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. There were reports that the Philippines was also considering withdrawing its troops due to security concerns. For his part, Putin had suggested that Russia could make up the troop deficit, but the UN rejected his proposal.