Israeli officials announced on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a Russian proposal to keep Iranian forces away from the Golan Heights frontier. Russia had reportedly proposed a deal where Iranian forces inside Syria would have to keep 100 km away from Israeli-occupied territory.
Netanyahu, who was visiting with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov, was quick to reject that proposal, insisting that Israel could never allow Iranians even 100 kilometers away from the “border.” The international community does not recognize the frontier as a border at any rate, and still considers Israeli-occupied Golan part of Syria.
Israel has been complaining to Russia about the presence of Iranian forces inside Syria for months. Iran has said they won’t withdraw unless the Syrian government asks them to. Russia has tried to get Israel to agree to stop attacking Syrian sites in return for keeping the Iranians away from the frontier.
Israeli officials are unlikely to accept any deal at any rate, having gone to great lengths to insist that all the Shi’ite militias in Syria are “Iranians” even though the overwhelming majority are from other countries. This provides a tailor-made excuse to keep striking Syrian military targets indefinitely, under the pretense of resisting Iran.