Soon after the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people in his nation’s ongoing civil war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Donald Trump’s decisive and bold action.
"In both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated," Netanyahu stated, according to CBN News. "Israel fully supports President Trump's decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime's horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere."
Even though Israel has made it a point to keep from intervening in Syria’s six-year internal conflict, it has waged several airstrikes over the year when it felt threatened – with one attack launched to stop Lebanese jihadists from the Hezbollah terrorist group from receiving weapons during their expansion into Syria.
Before the airstrikes were launched, the U.S. notified Israeli officials about the impending attack, yet it is unknown whether the offensive was made possible by using any form of Israeli intelligence.
Sending a strong message
According to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the attack was symbolic.
"[The U.S. airstrikes sent an] important, necessary and moral message," Lieberman stressed, according to Reuters. "The American notification to the Israeli military and defense establishment before the strike is additional proof of the strength of the deep ties."
Agreeing with Lieberman, Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror said that America’s commander-in-chief’s calculated response to the Syrian regime’s inhumane attacks on its people serves as a bold warning to Russia that it can no longer have a free reign in Syria – and that the U.S. is no longer standing by the sidelines while atrocities take place in the Middle East.
"The Americans are telling the Russians: 'You are not alone any more – not in Syria, not in the Middle East – and we are ready to take all the steps to be involved, and if you neutralize the U.N. Security Council, we will know how to act without its permission,’" Amidror told reporters during a conference call. "Yet again, military action is an option that will be used when the Americans decide that it should be used and – tell hostile states – 'Watch your behavior and your attitude towards American interests.'"
He insisted that the attack did more to stabilize the region than stir up future conflicts.
"The chances for an attack initiated by either Syria or Hezbollah is even less today than before because now it is understood that if they violate the interests of the United States of America ... this administration is ready to take action," Amidror responded when asked if Trump’s attack has spurred the risk of retaliation.
The Israeli security expert then indicated that an Israeli offensive against Syria would only take place if there was an attempt to equip Hezbollah with munitions – or if Israel witnessed a build-up of attack sites in the Golan Heights along the Israeli-Syrian border.
"We will stay on the sidelines because our strategic decision was not to take part in this war,” Amidror insisted. “If there is something specific that we can do militarily or from an intelligence point of view and so on, I'm sure that Israel would be more than happy to contribute to such efforts."
‘America is back’
Elated that America’s new commander-in-chief is taking a proactive role to ensure stability and security in the Middle East, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel indicated that Israel and other American allies in the region received a clear message from the U.S. airstrike on Syria.
"[We have] many smiling faces in this country because we think that America is back," Mazel expressed to CBN News. "I think they are very happy because Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, [and] all Gulf countries were under attack of Iran. They were under threat to be attacked – to be taken over."
The airstrikes could be a foreshadowing of Assad’s removal as dictator of Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson implied while noting that his abuses have incited preparations for a regime change.
"Assad's role in the future is uncertain, clearly,” Tillerson impressed, according to CBN News. “And with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people."
America’s chief foreign diplomat was then questioned whether he will organize an international coalition of forces with Trump to depose Assad.
"Those steps are underway," Tillerson responded. "Whatever angle you look at that happened last night, it's very, very important, very, very significant to the Middle East, and also to Russia and China because it's part of America's arena. America's arena is all over."
Addressing the airstrikes, the commander-in-chief insisted that the action is intended to create peace through strength – not war.
"We ask for God's wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world,” Trump announced. “We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed, and we hope that as long as America stands for justice, that peace and harmony will in the end prevail."
Setting an example
Calling the U.S. airstrikes “clear and determined” steps to achieve peace and stability in the region, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin commended Trump’s action against Syria’s president.
"In acting as it has, the United States serves as an example to the entire free world, which must support any step required to bring the atrocities in Syria to an end," Rivlin declared, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also supported Trump’s decision to send a strong message to the Syrian regime while supporting the attack on a television interview.
“The attack was important, necessary and correct,” asserted Livni, who is a parliament member in Israel’s Zionist Union Party.
Trump’s willingness to flex America’s muscles and once again restore order in the volatile region dubbed as the “Powder Keg,” is seen as a sheer contrast to the acquiescing foreign policy instituted by former President Barack Obama, who many blame for being partially responsible for the tumultuous Arab Spring uprising several years back – and turning America’s back on its loyal allies in the region.
“During the Obama administration, Israeli leaders became anxious by what they saw as the gradual pullback of the U.S. from the Middle East,” the L.A. Times’ Joshua Mitnick reported. “Israelis complained that the shift created a vacuum of power in Syria and in the broader region that was filled by Assad allies – such as Iran and Russia. They also complained that the U.S. had lost focus on Iran’s growing influence on the region because it had formed a tacit alliance with Tehran to fight Islamic State.”
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon noted how Trump’s actions have provided invigorated hope for a new era in U.S.-Israeli relations and stability in the region.
“We have been through several years in which the previous U.S. administration decided to disengage from the Middle East and stop playing the role of the international cop,” Yaalon told Israel Radio. “I hope that what we saw overnight is the beginning of a change in direction – in the understanding of who is the good and bad in the Middle East.”
The former chief of Israel’s military intelligence branch, Amos Yadlin, assured his social media following that the U.S. airstrike will more than likely serve to empower Israel and keep Assad and his allies from waging future attacks – as opposed to instigating future Syrian aggression on Israel.
“A proactive U.S. like we witnessed this morning strengthens Israel’s deterrence,’’ Yadlin proclaimed on Twitter. “This is an important message to Iran, Assad and Hezbollah.’’