For the first time since the Israeli air raid on Syria and the incident with the Russian IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft, erroneously shot down by Syrian air defense, the leaders of Russia and Israel have managed to agree on a meeting.
Haaretz reports that the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu informed the Israeli government about the forthcoming meeting with Putin. Speaking at the meeting of Israeli government in Jerusalem, Netanyahu expressed condolences to the families of Israelis who were victims of the recent riots at the border with the Gaza strip.
The Russian IL-20 surveillance aircraft was shot down on the evening of 17 September over the Mediterranean Sea during an Israeli airstrike against Syria. The Russian plane was downed by a Russian-made S-200 anti-air defense system operated by the Syrian military. All 15 of the Il-20’s flight crew members were killed. Moscow initially blamed Israel for the catastrophe, claiming that the attacking Israeli pilots put the Russian plane in the line of fire and created a dangerous situation.
The Israel Defense Force responded that indiscriminate firing by the Syrian anti-air defense systems was to blame. The Russian plane was shot down while returning to Russia’s Khmeimim Airbase. The crew were attempting to identify the location where Syrian rebels had been storing drones.
Putin later referred to the incident as a “series of tragic accidents”. In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Putin accused Israel of not abiding by the bilateral agreement to prevent dangerous incidents in Syria.