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May 30, 2013

AnaIysis: Israel could swoop on S-300 missiles in Syria, but with risks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel could overcome advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles if they were deployed in Syria but any strikes on the system would be difficult and risk alienating its supplier, Russia.

Israel has pledged to take preventive action, seeing a future Syrian S-300 as a “game-changing” threat to its own air space as well as to the relative free rein with which it now overflies its northern foe as well as neighboring Lebanon.

May 30, 2013

When Assad shells rebels, Israel goes on alert and learns

PALMACHIM AIR BASE, Israel (Reuters) – Israel tracks every heavy missile fired in the Syrian civil war, keen to study Damascus’s combat doctrines and deployments and ready to fend off a feared first attack on its turf, a senior Israeli military officer said on Thursday.

Colonel Zvika Haimovich of the air defense corps said southward launches against Syrian insurgents by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces gave Israel mere seconds in which to determine it was not the true target – a distinction that could prove crucial for warding off an unprecedented regional conflagration.

May 26, 2013

When Israel hits Syria, it hones military edge for wider war

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – When Israeli jets bomb Syria to deny it or its allies “game-changer” weapons, they play according to one core rule: ensuring the Jewish state maintains the military superiority to swiftly prevail in any war.

On Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s target list are four types of advanced arms, Russian- or Iranian-supplied, whose transfer from Syria to Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas next door would hinder Israel’s strategic options.

May 22, 2013

General says Israel poised for war on Syria if Assad falls

HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel is poised for a large-scale assault on Syria to prevent advanced weapons reaching jihadi rebels or Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled, Israel’s air force chief said on Wednesday.

But Major-General Amir Eshel, addressing a security conference, said his warplanes could be repelled by Syria’s formidable, Russian-supplied anti-aircraft systems – an implicit censure of Moscow echoed by Israel’s defence minister.

May 22, 2013

General says Israel will smash Syria’s arsenals if Assad falls

HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel is poised to attack Syria to prevent advanced weapons reaching jihadi rebels or Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled, Israel’s air force chief said on Wednesday.

But Major-General Amir Eshel, addressing a security conference, said his warplanes could be repelled by Syria’s formidable, Russian-supplied anti-aircraft systems – an implicit censure of Moscow echoed by Israel’s defense minister.

May 22, 2013

General says Israel ready to attack Syria should Assad fall

HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel is prepared to attack Syria to prevent advanced weapons reaching jihadi rebels or Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled, Israel’s air force chief said on Wednesday.

Major-General Amir Eshel also said Israelis should brace for a protracted and painful conflict should their forces engage in combat with Hezbollah or its main backer, Iran.

May 9, 2013

Israel asks Russia not to sell Syria advanced S-300 air shield, officials

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has asked Russia not to sell Syria an advanced air defense system which would help President Bashar al-Assad fend off foreign military intervention as he battles a more than two-year-old rebellion, Israeli officials said on Thursday.

Citing U.S. officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Israel had told Washington that Syria had already began payments for a $900 million purchase of the S-300 and an initial delivery was due within three months.

May 7, 2013

Israel says ‘no winds of war’ despite Syria air strikes

JERUSALEM/AMMAN (Reuters) – Israel played down weekend air strikes close to Damascus reported to have killed dozens of Syrian soldiers, saying they were not aimed at influencing its neighbour’s civil war but only at stopping Iranian missiles reaching Lebanese Hezbollah militants.

Oil prices spiked above $105 (67.5 pounds) a barrel, their highest in nearly a month, on Monday as the air strikes on Friday and Sunday prompted fears of a wider spill over of the two-year-old conflict in Syria that could affect Middle East oil exports.

May 6, 2013

Israel says Google’s ‘Palestine’ page harms peace hopes

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A senior Israeli official accused Google on Monday of setting back Middle East peace hopes by putting the name “Palestine” under the banner of its search page for the Palestinian territories. (www.google.ps)

Palestinians hailed Google’s move as a virtual victory on the long path to the state they seek in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized in the 1967 war.

May 6, 2013

Israel to Assad: air strikes did not aim to help Syria rebels

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel sought to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday that its recent air strikes around Damascus did not aim to weaken him in the face of a more than two-year-old rebellion.

Officials say Israel is reluctant to take sides in Syria’s civil war for fear its actions would boost Islamists who are even more hostile to Israel than the Assad family, which has maintained a stable stand off with the Jewish state for decades.