‘Israel not afraid of provoking regional war’

Two Israeli airstrikes on Syria in three days with the reported death of scores of Syrian soldiers means that Israel is not afraid of provoking regional war, Israeli-based columnist Larry Derfner told RT.

“If they were afraid of provoking regional war they would have not done this. The main attitude in Israel among policy makers seems to be that they didn’t expect Syria or Hezbollah or anybody to hit back for this. They thought that they could get away with it” he said.

RT: Unprovoked, Israel has bombed Syria twice in the last 72 hours - where does international law stand on this issue?

Larry Derfner: It seems that the US are supporting it, UK, France and Germany too. Nobody in the West has condemned it.

RT: Given that Syria has strong regional allies like Lebanon and Iran, isn't Israel afraid of provoking a regional war?

LD: Evidently not. If they were afraid of provoking regional war they would have not done this. The main attitude in Israel among policy makers seems to be that they didn’t expect Syria or Hezbollah or anybody to hit back for this. They thought that they could get away with it.

RT: No international action was taken against Israel over the raids against Syria in January. Will the lack of punishment encourage more strikes from Israel as and when it sees fit?

LD: It seems that even the reports in the NY times quoting Syrian officials saying that there are at least 100 Syrian soldiers dead , I don’t think they wanted something like that. They know that hitting Syria was such a cost, they can’t go on and do that and expect that there is going to be no retaliation. So I think that maybe this may actually have the effect of retarding Israel’s future operations.

RT: Now that Syrian missiles have reportedly been pointed at Israel - do you see this tension evolving into a military conflict?

LD: It certainly could. I don’t think that Syria is going to invade on the ground, but of course there is a possibility of missiles falling on Israel. I don’t expect it to happen, but of course it could.

RT: How do people in Israel see their government’s decision to carry out airstrikes on a foreign state?

LD: Yesterday, before the news of Syrian soldiers being killed, they were overwhelmingly supportive because there was no retaliation. There was the attitude that Israel attacked the weapons that were heading to Hezbollah and got away with it. So the Israeli public was fully supportive of it. Now, if the reports of so many Syrian soldiers dead are correct, I think the Israelis might be concerned at this point, that the government did something that could blow back. And at least the Israeli public does not want to go to war against Syria or against Hezbollah. The attitudes in Israel with these reports of dead could change.