Ground Report | New Delhi: Israel stand in Russia Ukraine; The Israeli government condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “violation of the world order.” The announcement is a significant change in the Israeli position towards the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Israel had tried to balance aligning itself with its biggest ally, the US while maintaining good relations with Russia, with which it has an important security relationship. On Wednesday, Israel issued a statement that supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity but did not condemn Russia.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is a violation of the world order and Israel condemns it. Israel is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Israel has seen many wars. War is not the way to resolve conflicts,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement on Thursday. The European Union and several of its member states in recent days have pressed Israel to take a stronger stand against Russia.
A day before the Russian invasion, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued an official statement deliberately endorsing Ukraine’s sovereignty without mentioning Russia. “Israel hopes for a diplomatic solution leading to calm and is ready to help if requested,” the statement said; that Jerusalem “supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”; and expressing concern for Israeli citizens and the Jewish community in the affected regions.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have pursued a fairly cohesive foreign policy, despite occupying different points on the Zionist spectrum. The day Russia invaded Ukraine was a big exception.
The differences exposed the dangers Israel faces as war once again rages across the European continent: siding with the Western ethos that Israel has espoused since its inception, or worrying about the Russian behemoth looming at Israel’s doorstep. Israel, in Syria.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is a serious violation of international order,” Lapid said at a press conference and on Twitter midday Thursday. “Israel condemns the attack.”
After the attacks began on Thursday morning, Israel had to take a much clearer position, Israeli officials said. On Thursday morning, Lapid and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held several consultations on stepping up Israel’s public response.
Russia has enormous influence in neighbouring Syria but allows Israel to operate freely against Iranian activity there. Israeli officials said the next decision will be whether to join international sanctions against Russia.
Israel, for example, has to get permission from Russia to fly over Syria, said Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“Russia controls the airspace in Syria,” he said. “Israel sees the need to continue conducting operations in Syria to combat Iranian [arms smuggling to its Lebanese client Hezbollah] and other malign activities and needs at least the tacit approval of the Kremlin. Then you will find that your hands are tied, as long as you prioritize these military operations.”
The Israeli army has carried out dozens of bombings in Syria, arguing that they act to prevent the establishment of Iranian bases in the country and the sending of weapons to Hezbollah by the Iranian authorities, which support Damascus in the framework of the war. that broke out in 2011.
Due to its strategic relations with Russia and Ukraine, Israel has maintained a neutral position and limited itself to evacuating its citizens residing in Ukraine. With an estimated 8,000 Israelis still there, the government has again urged them to leave the country across its land borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
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