Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a rare visit to Golan Heights on Tuesday, inspecting the nearby border into Syria.
The official visited a hilltop observation point, some three kilometers (two miles) from a 1974 ceasefire line. Speaking to his security cabinet, he warned against any attempt by Iran to deepen its military presence in Syria or construct missile factories in neighboring Lebanon.
“We seek peace but are prepared for any scenario and I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that they test us,” Netanyahu stated.
The Golan Heights dispute remains an apple of discord for Israel and Syria, provoking tit-for-tat strikes in border areas. Israel’s occupation of the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights (known in Syria as Quneitra governorate) prevents the states from signing a peace treaty. Tel-Aviv annexed the disputed area during the Six-Day War in 1967, what has been repeatedly condemned by the UN in 1981 and 2008.
Amid the raging in Syria war, the eastern Golan Heights, which remained in Syrian hands, became the target of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, as well as Daesh militants and other Syrian opposition forces.
Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of stationing their military bases in Syria. Tehran, in their turn, has repeatedly denied any allegations of having a base in Syria, as well as conducting military operations there, underlining its cooperation with the country’s leadership in the fight against various terrorist groups, including Daesh, and acts as one of the guarantors of the ceasefire in the Arab Republic jointly with Russia and Turkey.