Netanyahu at start of Cabinet meeting 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the ongoing massacre of Syrian civilians by President Bashar Assad, blaming the violence on the Axis of Evil: Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
"This axis is rearing its ugly head," Netanyahu told his cabinet, "and the world must understand that this is the region we live in."
At least 35 people were killed in Syrian army bombardment over the last 24 hours in a clashes taking place in the rural province of Homs, the epicentre of the revolt against Assad, opposition activists said on Sunday.
The prime minister's condemnation joins a growing chorus of anti-Syria rhetoric from the political establishment, with Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and President Shimon Peres all attacking Assad on Sunday for his crimes against civilians.
At the start of the weekly meeting, Netanyahu said that Syrian forces are killing innocents, including women and children.
The prime minister tied the massacres to Iran and Hezbollah, who he claimed are providing the Syrian president with assistance.
Israel had until recently been slow to call for Assad's fall, wary of worsening the turmoil in Syria. But with hourly media reports in Israel of Syrian civilian deaths, public anger has been growing and Israeli officials have been stepping up their criticism.
Earlier Sunday, Mofaz accused Assad of committing genocide
during his crackdown on a 15-month uprising. "A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic," said Mofaz during an interview on Army Radio.
Foreign powers were "making do with flaccid condemnation" rather than intervening to overthrow Assad, he added.
"Worse than that is the Russian conduct
, which weakly condemns the slaughter while continuing to arm Assad's murderous regime. Best-case scenario, this is irresponsible, and worst-case, it is a partnership in the slaughter," Mofaz said.
Also Sunday, President Shimon Peres said
that the world is not doing enough to stop the bloodshed in Syria, and that he hopes the Syrian rebels defeat Assad. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon also attacked Assad, adding that Israel is offering humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Syria through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
On Saturday, opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich called on
the international community to impose a full economic embargo on Syria. Reuters contributed to this report