By Samuel Burke, CNN
The former head of Israel’s intelligence agency, Efraim Halevy, has refused to characterize Syrian shelling on the Israel-Syria border as neither deliberate nor as just an accidental spillover from the ongoing civil war.
Initially Israel did not respond to shells falling in its territory. But on Sunday Israel returned fire for the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
In an interview CNN’s Hala Gorani on Tuesday, Halevy said that at first, Israel purposely avoided hitting a military target; but after the second shelling, Israeli forces hit an artillery battery.
While Israel did this on the ground, it “also sent a message, an oral message through certain channels to the presidency in Damascus that this would not be tolerated," Halvey said. “It would not be to his interest or the interests of anybody in Syria to involve Israel in any possible way in the current fighting.”
Mortar attacks on Golan have come to an end. And on Tuesday night Israeli television showed pictures of the Syrian battery withdrawing from the area.
“It shows that Damascus received the message and does not wish to … involve Israel or to find a combat situation which would involve Israel on the ground.”
The message Israel sent with its return shelling was not only intended for the current Syrian regime, Halevy said, but instead for any future Syrian leaders.
“If the Assad regime falls, anybody who takes over in Damascus will know that trying to involve Israel… will be met the way we have met it the last two days,” Halevy said.
To that end, Halevy adds that Israel’s message was also meant for Iran. He says Iranian combat units have been involved in combat in Syrian territory.
“This is an aspect which is of enormous concern to Israel because Israel's confrontation with Iran is not only around that part of the world, but also far beyond.”