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May 7, 2017 10:50 am

Israeli Intelligence Minister Urges Formal US-Israel Understanding Over Iranian Threat, Calls for Recognition of Jewish State’s Sovereignty in Golan

avatar by Ben Cohen

Iranian-backed Shi’a militias pose a growing threat to Israel from Syria and Lebanon. Photo: Iranian government media

Israel’s intelligence minister has called for a new US-Israeli security understanding over the extensive presence in Syria of Iranian forces.

Israel Katz, Israel’s Minister for Transportation and Intelligence, issued a five point plan based on growing Israeli concern with the regional threat posed by Iran, as well as Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.

Speaking at a New York conference hosted by the Jerusalem Post, Katz’s plan began with a call on the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel retained following its victory in the June 1967 War. The Golan, Katz said, is an “indivisible part of the State of Israel.”

The US and Israel would also oppose a “permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and Lebanon.” Iranian troops, along with their Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi’a proxies, have been the key factor, along with Russia, in stabilizing the embattled regime of Bashar al Assad in Damascus.

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That opposition, Katz said, would be grounded on punishing sanctions upon Iran “until it stops supporting Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations in the region.”

“This is the missing piece in the (July 2015) nuclear agreement signed with Iran,” Katz declared. “Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world and must be stopped.”

Katz called for equally “paralyzing” sanctions on Hezbollah, to avoid the prospect of using  “overwhelming force against Lebanon in future.”

Finally, Katz asserted, US-Israeli cooperation was needed to “block Iran, and prevent territorial continuity from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.” In view of present international attempts to begin a political process in Syria, and the contacts between the US and Russia over Syria, “it has to be made clear that there won’t be stability as long as Iran is not pushed back and weapons transfers are stopped,” Katz said.

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