Israel will respond if Iran continues to provoke the situation on the Syrian border, Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director-General Alexander Ben-Zvi said Monday. In February, former UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed the concern that the latest developments in Syria, including the conflict on the border might lead to a direct conflict between Israel and Iran. “I hope that this will not happen … Of course, if they [the Iranian armed forces] attack the territory of Israel – and we regard the drone incident as a direct attack on the territory of Israel – then we will not have any other way out.
“We will not sit back. And anyone who wants to take some steps, should understand that there will be retaliatory measures,” Ben-Zvi told reporters, commenting on Ban’s statement. At the same time, the diplomat noted that “ensuring the security of our state” was a primary interest of Israel in the issues regarding both Syria and the Palestinian settlement. “If there is no aggression against Israel, then we have no interest in fighting. We are not interested in the Syrian territory. “If everything is quiet there – then this is the main point … Until 2014, the most Israeli border with Syria was the most peaceful. We want to return to this state.
“There was no peace agreement between us, but the border remained calm. And this is the main point,” Ben-Zvi said. He also said Israel considers the Middle East Quartet the only format suitable for settlement in the region, adding that there will be no result without the U. S. In 2017, Trump announced the decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the city as Israel’s capital. Palestine, which also claims Jerusalem as its capital, has criticized Trump’s decision and suspended the dialogue with Washington.
According to the diplomat, the Palestinians were “living in illusions.” “But they have no choice. Because nothing can be achieved without the U. S. “There is the [Middle East] Quartet – Russia, the United States, the European Union and the UN, this is the main form of negotiations, and with the help of this format something can be achieved. Without the United State nothing will be achieved,” Ben-Zvi said.