Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

Iran seeks to send substantial military forces to Syria, establish air force, navy bases there, senior official says ■ Macron: France ready to address Hezbollah threat to Israel
Barak Ravid (Paris) Jul 16, 2017 7:40 PM

Macron and Netanyahu after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 16, 2017. STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

PARIS - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday that Israel opposes the cease-fire agreement in southern Syria that the United States and Russia reached because it perpetuates the Iranian presence in the country.

The prime minister noted that in his meeting with Macron, he made it clear to the French president that Israel was totally opposed to the cease-fire plan.

A senior Israeli official who asked not to be named due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the matter said Israel is aware of Iranian intensions to substantially expand its presence in Syria. Iran is not only interested in sending advisers to Syria, the official said, but also in dispatching extensive military forces including the establishment of an airbase for Iranian aircraft and a naval base for Iran's navy.

"This already changes the picture in the region from what it has been up to now," the senior official said.

Earlier on Sunday, Macron said after his meeting with Netanyahu that France is ready to lead a diplomatic move to address the threat posed by Hezbollah's weapons in south Lebanon.

Netanyahu and Macron met at the Élysée Palace for an hour and a half, when part of the meeting took place in private. The two leaders reached the Élysée Palace straight from a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews of Paris. During the ceremony, Macron said that anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism, and must be fought.


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