putin_netnayahu_GPO-Amos Ben GershomPhoto: GPO, Amos Ben Gershom

Israel-Russia to upgrade security coordination

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to Israel after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The two leaders held talks for three hours, with the majority of their discussions focused on the coordination mechanism in Syria between their two nations. Ahead of the closed-door summit, Putin praised Netanyahu’s efforts for bolstering bilateral security-relations, which he maintained are vital in the battle against international terrorism. In his words: “I will dare to put it straight – largely due to your efforts, our relations rose to the new level in the security sphere, in the sphere of military cooperation. / And we both know how important it is with the continuing threat from the international terrorism.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked President Putin for his warm friendship with the State of Israel, and reaffirmed the critical importance of the  Israeli-Russian military cooperation–particularly amid rising Iranian efforts to use Syrian territory as a base to attack the Jewish State. According to the Israeli PM: “It (military cooperation with Russia) is always important and it has become crucial last month as we see a growing number of attempts by Iran to use Syrian territory to attack us or to deploy missiles there which is a threat for us. / We are not ready to put up with this threat and we are forced to act. In this situation our dialogue is even more important and I am sure we will discuss this situation.”

Following the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the two leaders agreed to even further increase bilateral coordination between Moscow and Jerusalem.

After returning home, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that it is possible that Jerusalem may be forced to launch a wide scale military operation against Islamist organizations in the Gaza Strip, even before upcoming national Israeli elections, which are scheduled for next Tuesday, the 17th of September. Netanyahu stressed that the recent surge of Palestinian rocket fire from the Islamist infested Gaza Strip against Israel’s civilian communities has created a reality in which there is no option other than “to overthrow the Hamas regime.” That said, Netanyahu stressed that he would only “launch the military operations when Israel is ready, “and not a minute earlier.” Consequently, the IDF is preparing for the possibility that rocket fire from the coastal Palestinian enclave may continue over the next several days, and even expand to include additional Israeli territory. although despite the strong statement from the Premier, so far no additional Israeli forces have been deployed to the Gazan-Israeli border region.