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In a surprising change of tone, Israel has expressed readiness to reopen the Quneitra border crossing with Syria in the Golan Heights, now that the Arab country’s armed forces have purged militant groups from there.
“We are ready to open the crossing as it was before, and now the ball is in the Syrian court,” Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman told reporters as he toured the border area on Thursday.
Lieberman, who has a long history of hurling threats of doom and destruction against Syria and President Bashar al-Assad, added that Israel never wanted conflict with Syria and was ready to ensure a 1974 armistice agreement between the two sides is strictly observed.
“We said from the beginning that we have no interest in meddling in the … war within Syria and we have never intervened. What interests us is ensuring the security” of Israelis, Lieberman said.
The Golan Heights is a Syrian territory, which Tel Aviv has been occupying since 1967 and claims as its own territory despite international criticism.
In August, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) returned to the border between Syria and the occupied territories, four years after it was shuttered due to militant attacks.