Peres: Israel has no Immediate Plans to Attack Syria
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Monday ruled out any imminent attack inside Syria following the Jewish state's air raid last week on a Syrian military position in Lebanon, reported AFP.
"I don't think so," Peres said on a visit to Cyprus when asked whether Israel would launch an offensive on Syrian territory.
He defended last Monday's air raid on a Syrian radar station east of Beirut, killing at least one Syrian soldier, saying it was the direct result of Damascus' sponsorship of the armed Lebanese movement Hizbollah, which killed an Israeli soldier two days before the strike.
"Lebanon is a country of three armies: the Lebanese army, Syrian army and Hizbollah," Peres said, cited by the agency.
"This was a signal to Syria that not only Israel should respect UN resolutions, but Syria as well."
He accused Syria of blocking Lebanon from deploying its army along the border with Israel following the end of the Jewish state's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon last May in accordance with UN resolutions.
"The Lebanese army did not come in because the Syrian army has prevented them from doing so. By this prevention, they opened the border to Hizbollah and attacks on Israel," Peres said.
Within the same context, the Lebanese movement said Sunday that it will hit the Israeli army in the disputed Shabaa farms area "as soon as the opportunity arises," reported the Daily Star newspaper.
"The timing of the next operation (by Hizbollah) in the Shabaa farms will occur as soon as an Israeli target comes within range of our fighters. It is in no way linked to a political decision," said Hussein Hajj Hassan, an MP and member of the movement, during a rally in Beirut.
Hizbollah said that it had been personally targeted by the Israeli raid on a Syrian military position in Lebanon and vowed to hit back at the "Israeli enemy" at the right moment.
On Saturday, the Arab League, at an emergency summit, said the Israeli strike was "a provocation threatening the security of the entire region" and pledged support for "the legitimate Lebanese resistance," reported AFP. It decided at the emergency summit to send envoys to the United States, United Nations and European Union to explain the gravity of the Middle East situation, said reports.
Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdel Meguid said the envoys would head to Washington, New York and Brussels "as soon as possible," AFP quoted him as saying.
"We are in a race against time," he told reporters after the three-hour meeting.
"I don't rule out that (Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon will burn himself as he plays with fire. The Palestinian people shall not die; it's Sharon who will be put aside," Abdel Meguid said – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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