Netanyahu to tell Moscow: We won’t let Iran reach the Golan

Netanyahu to tell Moscow: We won’t let Iran reach the Golan

The Golan Heights are off the table in any Syrian peace deal, PM Benjamin Netanyahu says • “Victory over Islamic State terrorism cannot lead to a surge in terrorism by Iran and its proxies. We will not exchange terrorism for terrorism,” he says.

Shlomo Cesana, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow in June 2016  | Photo credit: EPA 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has left for a one-day trip to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday that Netanyahu had two main goals for the meeting: to continue Israel’s ongoing cooperation with Russia in preventing clashes between Israeli and Russian forces on the Syrian border, and to express his opposition to Iranian or Hezbollah forces remaining in Syria as part of any international talks on a peace deal to end the civil war that has raged in the country since 2011.

Netanyahu said he has already asked both Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and the Golan will not be part of any Syrian peace deal.

 

“This is a very important meeting for the security of Israel. Victory over the terrorism of Islamic State cannot lead to a surge in terrorism by Iran and its proxies. We will not exchange terrorism for terrorism,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Wednesday.

Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin, acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel, Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz, Head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi and Netanyahu’s military aide Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano are all part of Netanyahu’s contingent to Moscow.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu told the Diplomatic-Security cabinet he would “express to President Putin Israel’s sharp and vigorous opposition” to the possibility of Iran establishing a permanent foothold in Syria “with a military presence on the ground and at sea” and trying to “open a front against us on the Golan Heights.”