Steinitz made the remark as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, flew to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
“In all of our discussions, first and foremost with the United States, but also with Russia and the rest of the world powers, we must make sure that the Iranian forces will stay in Iran,” Steinitz told Israel’s Army Radio.
“Nobody wants to see Russian forces in the area of the Golan Heights, but we definitely don’t want to see Iranian forces near Israel,” he added.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War in June, 1967. The territory was officially annexed in 1981.
Israel fired on Syrian forces in the Quneitra region over the weekend when errant mortar fire landed in the captured territory.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Monday Syria had crossed a “red line” in its battle with proxy forces attempting to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
“Israel does not intend to ignore these incidents. We see the Syrian government as responsible for what happens in Syrian territory,” Yaalon said.
Preparations for Ground Invasion of Syria
In August it was reported that Israel is preparing for a possible ground invasion of Syria.
The Israelis began large division-scale training in the occupied Golan Heights in mid-August under the pretext ISIS may invade and also citing the presence of Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in 2006 in Lebanon, northern Israel and the Golan Heights. Some analysts consider the 34-day war as the first Iran-Israel proxy conflict.
“In the scenarios envisioned by the IDF, heavily-armed terrorist cells would infiltrate the Israeli side of the Golan and attack Jewish and Druze villages there, necessitating a strong Israeli response in Syria,” Israel Today reported on August 17.
The announcement of invasion preparations coincide with the possibility Israel may move its borders east “to protect the Druze and other non-hostile populations that are today threatened by the Islamists,” the website reported.
'Israel concerned with build-up of Iranian forces in Syria near Golan border' http://t.co/OC77BQCppP
— Israel News (@IsraelNewsNow) September 29, 2015
On Tuesday Israel Today reported the country “fears unintentional exchanges of fire between its own forces and the Russian military in Syria. Such a flare-up between Israeli and Iranian forces could give Tehran the excuse it needs to launch a long-range missile assault on the Jewish state.”
The Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai has cited “official sources” as saying Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Russia have launched a “joint operations room” to coordinate their campaign to defeat the Islamic State.
The Times of Israel reported on Saturday:
The newspaper quotes official sources as saying that each party will be responsible for particular areas of Syria, with Russia operating in Latakia, Hama and some parts of the Aleppo province, while Iran will be defending the capital Damascus and down to Quneitra on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. The report also states that some 100 Iranian special forces trained in urban warfare have arrived in Damascus
Israel claims the Syrian Army has received “substantial support” from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and “most notably fellow Iranian client Hezbollah,” the paramilitary group formed after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.
The Kuwaiti report also said the Syrian military has given dozens of Soviet-era tanks tanks to Hezbollah.
The Times of Israel reiterated the possibility Israel may conduct ground operations in the Golan and Syria.