The US Navy warship USS Ross’s port of call in Ashdod is a clear signal that Washington backs Israel’s military efforts to prevent Iranian intervention in Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday (Oct. 11), broadly hinting that this was a message to Russia as well, JP reported.
“This is the first visit in some 19 years by an American destroyer at the Ashdod port,” Netanyahu said as he toured the ship with his wife, Sara. “There is significance to this visit; it symbolizes that deep alliance between Israel and the United States.” Noting that the USS Ross is in action against terror objectives in Syria, Netanyahu said the Israel-US alliance is close across many spheres, but especially when it comes to security.
“We are determined to act to defend ourselves against the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, and against its proxies,” he said, referring to Hezbollah.
“President Trump gave full support to this policy of ours, and the fact that this destroyer is visiting here today is an expression of that American support. I think that message has been received through the Middle East,” he said, adding in an apparent reference to Russia, “and I think it has been received even beyond the Middle East.”
Netanyahu’s comments come against the background of the crisis in Israeli-Russian ties following the September Syrian downing of a Russian plane, which Moscow indirectly blamed on Israel and – as a result – sent S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries to Syria.
He said Israel is committed to preventing Iran from expanding its “empire.”
“We want them to go back to Iran – get out of Syria, get out of Yemen, get out of Iraq, and stop building war and creating misery everywhere they go,” he said US Ambassador David Friedman, who was accompanied by his wife, Tammy, said the symbolism of the moment should not be lost on anyone.