What Does U.S. Intervention in Syria Mean for Israel?

The Takeaway
On Tuesday, Congress held the first of what is sure to be many hearings on a resolution to authorize the use of force in Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack last month that the Obama administration says killed nearly 1,500 Syrians. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. At the hearing, Secretary Kerry fielded a question from Senator James Risch of Idaho about what the United States is prepared to do should the conflict spill into Israel, where cries for an American response to the chemical attack have been voiced loud and clear over the last weeks. "I talked with Prime Minister Netanyahu just yesterday, and he made it pretty clear to me that Israel feels very confident about Israel's ability to be able to deal, as they have previously, with a miscalculation by Assad," Risch stated. "And the rest of the community, the Turks, the Jordanians, the Emiratis, the Saudis, Qataris, the United States, France, others, all have a capacity." Israel has been virtually paralyzed since President Obama's decision to seek congressional approval. The country's only response so far has come from President Shimon Peres, who has said he supports President Obama's decision. But the response from Israel ends there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a directive to his cabinet to refrain from speaking publicly about the United States' decision. Does Israel see President Obama's decision as a hesitation? And what does this portend for Israel's tensions with Iran? Weighing in is Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States from 1993 to 1996. He was the chief negotiator with Syria in the 1990s.
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