Netanyahu to UN chief: Israel won’t allow Iran to establish foothold in Syria
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PM vows Israel will keep the Golan Heights forever

Netanyahu to UN chief: Israel won’t allow Iran to establish foothold in Syria

'They won't build their bases in Syria -- we'll act against that,' premier tells Guterres at Munich Security Conference

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, February 16, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, February 16, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday told United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Israel would not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria.

“They won’t build their bases in Syria — we’ll act against that,” the prime minister said during a meeting with the UN chief at the Munich Security Conference.

Netanyahu also told Guterres that Israel would never give up the Golan Heights, which were conquered in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed in 1981, in a move never recognized by the international community.

He also thanked Guterres for his work to secure the release of Israeli citizens and slain soldiers who are being held captive by the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday Netanyahu said Jerusalem will not accept any limitation on its activities in Syria, and stated that he would emphasize this to world leaders in Munich.

The prime minister said he will present proof of Iran’s involvement in last weekend’s clashes, during which Israel downed a drone said to be sent by Tehran, and struck multiple Iranian targets in Syria. An Israeli F-16 was downed by Syrian anti-aircraft fire in the course of the Israeli retaliatory strikes, and crashed in Israel. The two pilots ejected.

Netanyahu also met in Munich with business leaders and encouraged them to invest in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, addresses dozens of senior business leaders, encouraging them to invest in Israel, ahead of the Munich Security Conference, February 16, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

His office said he will likely also meet with other senior figures on the sidelines of the conference, set to take place from February 16-18.

The prime minister is due to speak on Sunday morning.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are also set to attend this weekend’s conference.

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