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February 14, 2016 2:44 pm

Israeli Defense Minister Says Ready to Work With Arab Countries on Syria Strategy

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Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. Photo: Wikipedia.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Photo: Wikipedia.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel was ready for the possibility of developing a joint strategy with Arab countries to address the situation in Syria, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

Addressing a security conference in Munich, where the defense minister also met on the sidelines with Jordanian King Abdullah II for the first time publicly in over a year, Ya’alon said Israel’s official position in Syria was non-involvement, other than for humanitarian reasons.

Still, Israel would respond if its sovereignty was threatened, he said. Israel has previously asserted that its red line in Syria includes weapons transfers to Hezbollah, and Israel has reportedly carried out several air strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011.

Speaking in English, Ya’alon also noted joint interests with countries in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, but said open relations with these countries was not possible.

Responding to Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, who asked the defense minister how Israel planned to forge open relations with Arab countries while the conflict with the Palestinians continues, Ya’alon said it was the Palestinians who rejected recent attempts to restart the peace process, and added that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was disconnected from the larger conflicts in the Middle East.

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