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    Israel Could Mediate, but Not Pick Sides Between Russia and US – Analyst

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    The US, the UK and France are mulling over a potential response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Douma. Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Dr. Ehud Eilam, Israel’s national security analyst, who served in the Israeli military and worked for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, presumed that Israel may mediate discussions between the US and Russia.

    Sputnik: What is your take on the current situation in Syria?

    Dr. Ehud Eilam: There is, of course, a current crisis mostly between the US and Russia […] As far as Israel is concerned this crisis is not really its main concern because Israel is more focused on the Iranian presence in Syria. So it's kind of a different story for Israel.

    Sputnik: What could be the stance of Israel if the US does in fact decide to make a military strike and escalate?

    Dr. Ehud Eilam: The United States made a strike a year ago and Israel was not involved in that strike and the same will be also now. Israel is collaborating with the US in a way by giving them information because of course Syria is a neighbor of Israel so Israel has a lot of information about what is going on in Syria. And Israel has been gathering information on Syria for dozens of years because Syria has been a major problem for Israel as far as national security. [Israel will not participate] in any attack on Syria together with the US. And the US will not use Israel's bases and the Israelis will not be any part of this attack, only by giving information. And Israel is like between Russia and the US in this issue. And you can see that from the Israeli declaration that it is trying to stay kind of aside, not to be involved because Israel wants to keep its relations, good relations with both parts, of course, with the US and also with Russia.

    READ MORE: 'Israel Won't Be Part of the Coalition Trump's Trying to Establish' — Professor

    Sputnik: Is their pressure being put on Israel by either of the sides?

    Dr. Ehud Eilam: Israel might be involved in kind of being a broker in a way between Russia and the US, though Israel is not a major player in the world stage, but it is a major player in the Middle East, especially in Syria. So, if this crisis escalates and, hopefully it will not… then maybe Israel could be more involved, not necessarily directly, but indirectly because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has good relations with President [Vladimir] Putin and he also has good relations with President [Donald] Trump. So he can help in that issue if it comes to that.

    READ MORE: Israel is Not a Player in Syrian Tensions — Research Fellow

    An Israeli F-15 E fighter jet takes off during an air show.
    © AFP 2018 / THOMAS COEX
    An Israeli F-15 E fighter jet takes off during an air show.

    Sputnik: Do you see that Israel could actually play some of kind a role as a moderator in this situation?

    Dr. Ehud Eilam: If it comes to that, yes, but Israel [would] rather stay away from that because Israel doesn't want to be in a situation where it is between Russia and the US in which Israel has to pick sides because Israel kind of supports the US strike on Syria because Israel wants to prevent the situation in which chemical weapons become a legitimate way of using force in the Middle East. Of course, it was done in the past all the way back to the 1980s, actually to the 1960s, but Israel does not want this weapon to be used, especially not against itself. In a way it wants the United States to deliver a message on this issue, but neither side, not Israel, not Russia, none of them wants a major escalation, let alone something worse than that because that could be terrible.      

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    alleged chemical attack, The Syrian war, Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Douma, Israel, United States, Russia
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