The defense minister elaborated that Israel “doesn’t interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, but on the other hand we won’t allow Iran to flood [the country] with advanced weapons systems that would be aimed against Israel.”
“If anyone attacks us, we will retaliate, regardless of S-300, S-700 [sic] or any anything else’s presence there,” Lieberman said.
In an interview with Army Radio, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz cast doubts on Russia’s potential supply of S-300 missile defense systems to Syria, suggesting that the move will undermine Moscow’s relations with Tel Aviv.
“I doubt that they will supply this missile defense system – at the very moment they will cross a certain line in our relations,” Army Radio cited Katz as saying.
Another senior Israeli official also expressed his concerns over the potential supply of Russian S-300 systems to Syria.
“Any type of weapon that threatens Israeli security is always a matter of concern,” Deputy Director General and Director of the Eurasia Department of the Foreign Ministry Alexander Ben-Zvi said.
At the same time, Ben-Zvi did not clarify if Tel Aviv would raise the issue of S-300 supplies during talks with Russian officials. He did, however, note that “matters concerning the Syrian conflict are constantly being discussed during the meetings between Israeli politicians and diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Russian Security Council.”
The statements come just a day after the IDF launched an attack on Syrian artillery after a mortar shell fell next to a security fence in the northern Golan Heights, a disputed area, which has been a focal point in relations between Tel Aviv and Damascus since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Liberman: Israel would destroy Syrian S-300 if it attacked our jets
“One thing needs to be clear: If someone shoots at our planes, we will destroy them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an S-300 or an S-700,” he said.
Liberman said he had seen the reports, but that “they don’t have a grip on reality.”
The defense minister reiterated Israel’s stated policy as it relates to Syria, namely that Israel will not get involved in the country’s civil war, but will take military action to prevent advanced weaponry from reaching the Hezbollah terrorist group and to halt Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
Israel’s former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, who currently heads the influential Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said he assumed the air force would work quickly to destroy the S-300, if it were indeed handed over to Syria.