Netanyahu to Jewish Leaders in Moscow: Syrian Omelet Can’t Be Put Back in the Egg
“I don’t think the Syrian omelet can be put back in the egg,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jewish leaders in Moscow on Wednesday, Israel’s Army Radio reported.
Netanyahu made this quip at the tail end of a two-and-a-half-day trip to Russia, to meet with President Vladimir Putin and other officials, and to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic ties between Moscow and Jerusalem.
According to Army Radio, this was in the context of questioning by the Jewish leaders about how Netanyahu intended to reach an agreement with Syria, after announcing that he would never cede the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu replied, “You’re asking about the future of relations with President Assad? I would ask what the future of President Assad is altogether. We [Israel] are not intervening in this issue. We are making sure that Syrian doesn’t become a launching pad for attacks against Israel — not by Syrian forces, not by Iranian forces, not by Hezbollah forces or Islamist forces. We’ve got enough enemies.”
Netanyahu continued: “My policy is to take all steps necessary to prevent attacks, and we are operating to this end from time to time. I also ordered the construction of a field hospital to help thousands of Syrians — babies, children, women, men — with horrible injuries, who are being treated there and at our hospitals. We are simultaneously providing humanitarian aid and standing firm where our security is concerned.”
On Tuesday, the Netanyahu-Putin conferences culminated in an anniversary celebration at Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theater.
In a Hebrew and Russian Facebook post summarizing his trip, Netanyahu wrote, “A crowded [sic] events and activities of the day ended with a solemn gala concert in the big theatre on the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia. I want to express appreciation to President Putin for strengthening relations between our countries. I’m sure that in another 25 years, this day will remain as an important milestone in relations between Israel and Russia.”
In an interview with The Algemeiner on Monday, Mideast and Russia expert Zvi Magen said that “what distinguishes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current trip to Moscow from his previous three parleys with the Russian president is that this one will focus on the Palestinians and the future of Syria,” explaining that the Kremlin wants increased influence in the region, and that Jerusalem needs an alternative to the United States as a guarantor of its interests.
“What we are seeing is realpolitik in action,” Magen said, adding that another interest shared by the two leaders “has to do with neither side’s desire for Iran to become a regional hegemon.” In addition, he said, Russia has put forth its vision for Syria – dividing the country into Swiss-like cantons, creating a federal government with autonomous provinces.
As was also revealed on Wednesday — apropos of Netanyahu’s statements to Russian-Jewish leaders — the Israel Air Force carried out an airstrike over the weekend against a military installation in Syria, according to a report in the Assad-affiliated media.