BREAKING: Former Israeli Defense Minister Confirms Israeli Collaboration with ISIS in Syria
وزير الدفاع الاسرائيلي السابق يعلون يقر لاول مرة بوجود قناة اتصال بين بلاده وداعش في سوريا
שר הביטחון לשעבר יעלון מאשר לראשונה את קיומו של ערוץ תקשורת בין ישראל ודאעש בסוריה
Thanks to Middle East Eye for republishing this post in an earlier, slightly different version.
In the midst of complaining about the Islamist threat to Israel and the world, Bibi Netanyahu conveniently forgets that his own country enjoys a tacit alliance with ISIS in Syria. It is an alliance of convenience to be sure and one that’s not boasted about by either party. But is not terribly different from one than Israel enjoys with its other Muslim allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Bogie Yaalon served as defence minister in the current Israeli government till he had a falling out with Netanyahu in May 2016. Now Yaalon plans to form his own party and run against his former boss. Unfortunately for him, he’s not polling well and doesn’t appear to be much of a political threat.
So Yaalon enjoys the position of having little to lose. He can speak more candidly than the average politician. In this context, he spoke at length on security matters at a public event in Afula. There is always much that I disagree with whenever I read Yaalon’s views. For example, while warning in this video about the danger of favoring too heavily one side over the other in Syria, he essentially justifies Israel’s interventionist approach. It has largely has favored Assad’s Islamist opponents. Nor do I much like, in another context, Yaalon’s choice of political allies–from Islamophobe blogger Pam Geller to Meir Kahane’s grandson.
But he did reveal Israel’s ties to ISIS in Syria. I’ve documented, along with other journalists, Israeli collaboration with al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. But no Israeli till now has admitted it has collaborated with ISIS as well. Below Yaalon implicitly confirms this:
…Within Syria there are many factions: the regime, Iran, the Russians, and even al-Qaeda and ISIS. In such circumstances, one must develop a responsible, carefully-balanced policy by which you protect your own interests on the one hand, and on the other hand you don’t intervene. Because if Israel does intervene on behalf of one side, it will serve the interests of the other; which is why we’ve established red lines. Anyone who violates our sovereignty will immediately feel the full weight of our power. On most occasions, firing comes from regions under the control of the regime. But once the firing came from ISIS positions–and it immediately apologized.
The attack he refers to was reported in Israeli media. But ISIS’ apology was not. It was suppressed most certainly because an ISIS’ apology would embarrass both Israel and the Islamists as it has now.
Some critics claim that an ISIS apology doesn’t signify an alliance or serious collaboration between the Islamist group and Israel. To which I reply–when you bomb an ally you apologize. When you bomb an enemy–you don’t. What does that make ISIS to Israel? Further, when was the last time an Islsmist terror group apologized for for firing bullets at Jews or Israelis?
UPDATE: RT reports that the specific incident involved the ISIS Shuhada al-Yarmouk “cell,” which had taken over a former UN observation post on the border. The IDF Golani brigade which patrolled that sector believed this could signify an aggressive posture by ISIS which might threaten Israeli territory. So the commander ordered a unit into the area, within Syrian territory, in order ambush the ISIS detachment. When armed Islamists appeared to be moving in the direction of the border, the Golani troops opened fire. In the ensuing battle, eight of the Islamists were killed. The fact that the group later apologized to Israel indicates to me that the al-Yarmouk detachment had violated an understanding worked out by the two sides.
Mako is the first Hebrew-language news outlet to grasp the import of Yaalon’s statement, though it typically, for security-obsessed Israel, allowed for the fact it may’ve been a “slip of the tongue.” When Mako asked for Yaalon to clarify his statement, he declined. This is a further indication of the veracity of my reporting here.
Returning to ISIS, this is the same group which beheaded a Jewish-American who’d lived in Israel: Steven Sotloff. The same ISIS which raped Yazidi women and threw gay men off buildings. The same ISIS which has rampaged through the Middle East sowing havoc and rivers of blood wherever it goes. The same ISIS which Netanyahu routinely excoriates as being the root of all evil in the world. Like here, for example:
“Iran and the Islamic State want to destroy us, and a hatred for Jews is being directed towards the Jewish state today,” said Netanyahu, adding, “those who threaten to destroy us risk being destroyed themselves.”
It’s common knowledge that Israeli foreign policy going back to the days of Ben Gurion has been exceedingly opportunistic and amoral as exemplified in this infamous statement:
”Were I to know that all German Jewish children could be rescued by transferring them to England and only half by transfer to Palestine, I would opt for the latter, because our concern is not only the personal interest of these children, but the historic interest of the Jewish people.”
So I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised at this new development. But still it does momentarily take one’s breath away to contemplate just how brutally cynical Israel’s motives and choices can often be.
NOTE: I’m especially amused that a member (not me) of the subreddit /r/syriancivilwar submitted this post to Reddit. There was an immediate clamor for it to be removed. It was. The reason given was that it contravened Rule 15 which stated that material that is unsubstantiated may not be published. It seems that a public statement by a former Israeli defense minister in a major Israeli publication is “unsubstantiated” according to the standards of these moderators. In reality, they just don’t like the idea that Israel is collaborating with ISIS in any form. I note that at least one of the moderators is Israeli and proudly so, as his avatar is an Israeli flag.
37 thoughts on “BREAKING: Former Israeli Defense Minister Confirms Israeli Collaboration with ISIS in Syria – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“..this is the same ISIS which beheaded a Jewish-American who’d lived in Israel: Steven Sotloff. The same ISIS which raped Yazidi women and threw gay men off buildings. The same ISIS which has rampaged through the Middle East sowing havoc and rivers of blood wherever it goes.”
The same ISIS that is rocketing Israel from Sinai?
What rubbish you peddle.
@Seamus Ignoramus: Yup. Very same individuals. They fight in Syria, hop on the Sinai Shuttle, then rocket Israel, back on the shuttle & they’re back on the Syrian battlefield. Rumor has it they can get four rounds of shelling on both battlefronts in a single day! Commuting terrorists. It’s a new thing.
Actually, Sinai Islamists are largely Bedouin and indigenous. Entirely different than ISIS in Syria.
US-led countries like Australia are obtaining the illegitimate interests of Israel at the cost of mass murder of Palestinians. I have signed the petition in this regard. If we note the present drastic situation in the world, I think Tel Aviv is moving the world to the clash of civilizations or a nuclear war or may cause a major war between the Western Christians and the Muslims World to avoid the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Some Western countries’ leaders are also equally responsible for such a future scenario.
I believe Israel is supporting ISIS. But Yaalon’s quote does not admit that or prove that at all. I am seeking proof. Would love to see a smoking gun.
This isn’t even a warm gun.
“But once the firing came from ISIS positions–and it immediately apologized.” – this doesn’t prove collaboration, hardly a channel of communication. How did they even apologize? you don’t need a RED PHONE for that.
Funny how Richard believes writing about martyrs in a poem doesn’t refer to violence but this one sentence PROVES collaboration.
I can assume living next to a border taught him about “develop[ing] a responsible, carefully-balanced policy” but the situation with Syria is a bit more complex than the with Canada.
@ Daniel: When was the last time ISIS apologized to Syria or Turkey or Lebanon for shelling its territory? What is the motivation for apologizing? Hostility to Israel? Or preserving a friendly relationship? And if Israel cultivates an alliance with al Nusra why wouldn’t it do the same with ISIS? And why would Israel conceal the shelling from the Israeli public when it does the opposite when Hezbollah shells Israel? Because it is ISIS’ sworn enemy?
Yaalon was Israel’s defense minister & privy to every form of security information. You think if ISIS shelled Israel & apologized he wouldn’t know about it?
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Even in the darkest times of the cold war there was a direct link between the White House and the Kremlin. Does that mean the US president was a communist collaborator?
Israel and Syria never had peace but still, the border crossing was used every now and then for various purposes. Have you watch The Syrian Bride https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1153719_syrian_bride
Does it mean Israel ‘collaborated’ with the Syrian government?
Your Hebrew tweet about “Israel having a communication channel with ISIS” is already a stretch but ‘collaboration’?? That makes it into science fiction.
@ Daniel: Are you claiming in your historical parallel that Israel is the U.S. and Russia ISIS? Because I think the Russians would object to being likened to Islamist terrorist thugs. Or are you saying that Bibi or Yaalon do have a red phone to the top ISIS commander in Syria? That would be interesting.
You really haven’t read this blog, have you? Now go read the multiple posts I’ve written (and an article at Mint Press News) documenting the regular close coordination between Israeli military intelligence agents and al Nusra commanders. The camp Israel built in the Israeli Golan to house families of Syrian Islamist militants. The military equipment Israel transferred to al Nusra via the border crossing. So does Israel collaborate with Syrian Islamists? You bet.
And do stop with the fatuous red-herring references to Israeli movies. As for “science fiction,” I’ll take hasbara like yours every time as the sure-fire winner of that prize.
I don’t see you seeking an exact parallel when Israel is called apartheid though the way Arabs are treated is completely different than how blacks were treated in SA.
It doesn’t matter who is the bad guy and who is the good guy, the point is – one need “channel of communications” with enemies to keep some sort of stability. Do you think Israel doesn’t communicate at all with Hamas? How exactly do people from GAza get into Israel or goods enter Gaza?
@ Daniel: The only people who claim there are no parallels between apartheid Israel & apartheid S.A. are pro-Israel apologists (including at least one S.A. Jew). But unfortunately for Israel there are many parallels.
As for Israel communicating with Hamas, there is very little communication (unless you count Israeli intelligence spying on Hamas communications, as “communication”). And none that can lead to real, substantive improvements or a solution to the conflict.
” Would love to see a smoking gun”
“I believe Israel is supporting ISIS ”
You have a bad heart.
At what time on the video does he say it?
[comment deleted: read the comment rules. Yours violated several important rules.]
Obviously, on first glance Israel makes no sense whatsoever. So, what if we step back far enough so we can explore motives. What if Israel wants Syria to become a second Libya, a terrorist infested chaos with crimes against humanity of the worst kind. This would give Israel a legitimate casus belli to march into Syria and destroy the jihadist terrorists. Of course Israel would win. After all, the opponents are terrorists not the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. To prevent a recurrence of ISIS terror, Israel would occupy the land. Since millions of Syrians already left the country, the land would be wide open to meet the Zionist’s need for Lebensraum.
@ Beverly: I don’t think that’s the way Israeli military strategists think. THey don’t want to “own” Syria. At least not now. And not with tens of millions of Syrians they’d have to govern. They’d rather control Syria from the outside as they did southern Lebanon through the SLA. In the Yaalon video he expounds on this saying Syria will break up into cantons: Sunni, Alawite, Kurd & Druze. Israel will support the Kurds and Druze and to an extent the Sunni. But Israel on no account wants a united Syria. That is too much of a threat.
there are other relationships other than “ally” or “enemy”, the conjecture here is a bit of a non sequitur.
@Shay: You let us know the last time an Islamist terror group apologized for firing bullets or shells at Jews or Israelis…
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Even if this is a first, it does not follow that Israel and ISIS are allies.
@ Shay:I don’t believe I used the word “allies.” But they certainly have common interests and certainly have engaged in some form of coordination because of those common interests.
…I mean, I’m pretty sure you use the words “alliance” and “allies” a few times in the text to describe the relationship (to be fair, with some qualifiers like “tacit”), so, I don’t think I was wrong to point it out. I certainly agree there is indication of certain coordination following some common interests, but that is not indicative of much more than just that.
No, I think it IS much more than that. Of course, the only thing driving this marriage of convenience is a common enemy, which isn’t the foundation of a strong or long-term alliance. Once the Iran issue is resolved or lessens, there will be far less to join them together.
But your own PM & his political flunkies are the ones celebrating this supposed new “Arab alliance” with the Sunni world. I think it’s a bunch of hype because it’s one that is skin deep. And it’s not based on any long term interests or values. It could fall apart quicker than it took to build it. But THEY are the ones calling it the greatest thing to hit Israel since felafel (not literally), not me.
An ISIS attack was widely reported.
and many other sources – https://www.google.co.il/search?q=israel+kill+isis+golan&oq=israel+kill+isis+golan
@ Daniel: An earlier version of this post said the incident had not been reported in Israeli media. When I discovered the RT story about it, I edited & corrected my earlier statement. That correction & update happened at least a week ago. So I’m not claiming it wasn’t reported.
Judging by the Yaalon’s assertion i strongly believed that isis is created by the Israel
@Mule. No, ISIS has nothing to do with Israel, which supported al Nusra/al Qaeda.
Israel’s Hypocricial shame. They call Arabs Terrorist but the biggest Terrorist is the State of Israel.
[comment deleted: I don’t permit comments which demonize either Israel or Palestine. Terms like “Israhell” are not acceptable. Read my comment rules.]
I am starting to think that maybe ISIS in some units is formed by Muslim radicals but other units could be Israeli and Zionist because it is strange that two leaders appeared as Mossad agents and some units were helped by Israel, same for FSA and similar.
@ ryan milkon: Your report is based on rumors, not hard facts. Israel collaborated with al Nusra in Syria, which is affiliated with al Qaeda. But no evidence of Israeli collaboration with ISIS.
I respect your opinion but I don’t believe what you say and I don’t believe that censoring serves any purpose due to the fact that al-Nusra is not the only group that is supported and there are many confirmations that show that Israel supported FSA and strange things that said the government some Israeli officials, knowing Israel only supports friendly units but would never support hostile units.
We can call the groups as al-Nusra,FSA or ISIS but actually all of them come from al-Qaeda.
Why do I have all these doubts? Not because I agree with those who demonize Israel that is wrong but because Trump never managed to show a single proof of what he said but beyond that, I also don’t believe that these organizations are united as they want us to believe.
Whatever happened, we wouldn’t know but I don’t support claims that say “all Jews are equal” or “Jews rule the world”.
and ironically even the Israeli media says that Israel not only supports al-Nusra but also al-Qaeda, certainly the hasbara continue to censor so as not to show that the Israeli government also makes its mistakes.
By now I have only learned not to believe what the hasbara say, too many half truths and half lies.
Syrian rebels are not secular.
@ Ryan: Israel media does not acknowledge any relation with al Qaeda. It acknowledges relations with Syria rebel groups without specifying their affiliation. And al Nusra IS affiliated with al Qaeda. So I’m not sure what point you’re attempting to make.
No, you’re wrong. ISIS hates al Qaeda and vice versa. You clearly aren’t aware of the relations among these Islamist groups.
Please don’t post multiple comments in the same thread at the same time. Make one comment so it doesn’t appear as if you’re dominating any particular thread.
Well I think I ended up in a wrong place and I think I commented unnecessarily here, you can delete my comments because there is no point in talking to you despite the Israeli media saying otherwise.
No I don’t believe in your hasbara propaganda.
For someone sporting the name “Ryan Milkon” whose e mail is “ibrahimalbadri” and whose IP address resolves to Italy, I’d say you’re definitely in the wrong place.
such a statement is incomprehensible when there is an entire and stable community of Israelis in Iran …
@ Christina: I think you meant “Jews.” If you meant Israelis you are either ignorant or deliberately conflating Jews and Israelis. I urge you not to do that.