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Israel's Four Red Lines

IDF soldier in Golan Heights (Photo: flickr/IDF)

As conflict and chaos continue in Syria, with many different sides involved in the ongoing Syrian civil war, many threats are being posed to Israel. Speaking with Hugh Hewitt, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren explains what the Jewish state is doing to secure its northern border:

Israel had drawn four red lines in Syria. We aim to stick by them, stick behind them and enforce them. They are: 1) anybody shoots at us, we’re going to shoot back, and we’re going to shoot back at the Syrian Army or the Iranians we view as the most powerful elements in the field. And we did it two weeks ago. Anybody tries to transfer precision weapons to Hezbollah, as the Iranians have tried to do repeatedly since 2010, we will stop them. Anybody such as the Iranians tries to build that airbase or that port, we will stop them there. And then perhaps the most difficult red line of all, Iran has been plotting to build an underground lab in a very densely-populated area of Lebanon that will upgrade the 130 rockets, 130,000 rockets in Hezbollah’s arsenals into precision-guided rockets, very, very dangerous for us. We will deal with that lab as well...

Well, through repeated conflicts with Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza, we know that we cannot interdict and eliminate the missile threats from the air only. There has to be ground action, and especially since so many of these Hezbollah positions are deeply embedded in civilian areas. So that’s one. Two, in 2006, we made a distinction between the state of Lebanon and Hezbollah. And it was a false distinction, and a costly one, because we said that we were at peace with Lebanon, and we don’t want war with Lebanon, but we’re fighting Hezbollah. Today, there’s no such distinction. Hezbollah and Iran have fully taken over the state of Lebanon. And if there’s war, then that’ll be a war not just between a terrorist group and Israel. It’ll be a war between Israel and a neighboring state, and a neighboring state will pay the price.

HH: If that happens, can you see somehow Syria staying out of it, or is that inevitably going to be a war with both Israel and Lebanon, and Israel and Syria?

MO: Well, even Syria is sort of a misnomer. It doesn’t really exist anymore. There is no more Syria. There are enclaves controlled by the Syrian Army, but the Syrian Army is not controlled by Syria. It’s controlled by Iran. And so the decision will not be Bashar Assad’s. It’ll be the Supreme Leader of Iran, Khamenei, and he may well decide to attack us either from Syria, but Iran also has a middle range missile capacity that can hit our cities. They can hit us from the Gaza Strip where Hamas basically is controlled by Iran as well. So we could be dealing with a multi-front war...

Tags: Syria , Israel

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