Israel Stands Down in Wake of Syria Threat


 Israel’s military sent home many of the reservists called up to deal with the threat from Syria.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military sent home many of the reservists called up to deal with the threat from Syria.

The decision on Sunday to release the reservists, who remain on alert status, came a day after President Obama said he would seek approval from the U.S. Congress to launch a limited military strike on Syria. Congress reconvenes next week following its summer recess.

Citing unnamed Israeli officials, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several hours before his Rose Garden announcement on Saturday to tell the Israeli leader him that the strike, meant to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against its citizens, would be delayed pending congressional approval.

Netanyahu has instructed his government ministers to refrain from publicly criticizing or praising Obama for his decisions regarding Syria.

Meanwhile, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the international body to prevent military action to “push forward in reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria,” Reuters reported, citing the Syrian state news agency SANA.

The report from Monday also said the U.N. should “prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy.”

Investigations have found mounting evidence that Syria used chemical weapons against its citizens; the Syrian government denies the charge.

At the dedication Monday of a new highway interchange, Netanyahu said Israelis should “go out and enjoy the holiday, and if someone thinks of harming the tranquility of the holiday, he knows what awaits him.”

Netanyahu was referring to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins on Wednesday.



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