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Israel’s actions are deplorable

The strikes by Israel on targets in Syria on Thursday night and again on Sunday are to be condemned.  With Syria not having done anything recently to have provoked Israel, and with no threat or aggression against it, these strikes are an unacceptable violation of international law and of the sovereignty of Syria. It is not quite clear what Israel means to achieve by means of these violent strikes on a country with which it is not at war. Israel possibly fears the shipments of advanced weapons, such as sophisticated long and medium range missiles, from Syria to the Hizbollah, the militant Lebanon based organisation, with which it fought a 34-day war in 2006 and which is perhaps the most immediate threat to it. It apparently would like to disrupt weapons being stockpiled near its borders even as it destroys the arms pipeline from Syria to Hezbollah and stops the latter from building a significant military capacity. Syria’s civil war may have meant an evacuation of weapons from it. Yet, the means adopted by Israel to contain this threat are a blatant violation of the UN Charter, Article 2 of which states that ‘all members shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.’  Israel’s strikes are pre-emptive in nature, against a threat that is as yet not imminent and there is little justification for them.

Israel’s strikes are opportunistic given the Assad regime’s weakness and vulnerability and its inability to respond as it continues to be embroiled in a deadly civil war. It is certainly an attempt at a warning, to Damascus, to stop the transfer of weapons but also to Iran that Israel would not hesitate to launch devastating attacks if the Iranians approached nuclear weapons capability. The strikes make even be an attempt to interfere in Syria’s civil war on the side of the rebels. Yet Israel would do well to refrain from such attacks which are only likely to build up hostility in the region and opposition to it and damage the long-term prospects of peace. The United States, for its part, must neither encourage such adventures by Israel nor must be tempted to intervene in the Syrian conflict in search of chemical or any other weapons. All efforts should be made to resolve tensions in the region through diplomatic means and not through violence and peace should be given a chance.
Agencies

Agencies

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