Israel weighs treating children wounded in Syrian gas attack

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly voiced opposition because such an operation would have to be coordinated with the Turks.

April 10, 2017 05:42
2 minute read.

Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The security cabinet on Sunday decided to look into the possibility of bringing some of the children wounded in the chemical attack in Idlib to Israel for medical treatment.

The informal decision was made – no vote was taken – after the 10 ministers on the security cabinet weighed the pros and cons of the move.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly voiced opposition because such an operation would have to be coordinated with the Turks.

Idlib is located in northern Syria, and the children would have to be transferred to Israel via Turkey. If such a move were possible, it was made clear that the children would be brought to Israel only for medical treatment, not relocation.

The security cabinet also discussed the potential ramification of the recent developments in Syria on Israel.

Earlier in the day, at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “fully supports” the US missile attack on a Syrian airbase because it was morally the right thing to do, and because it makes clear that there is price for the use of chemical weapons.

“We are doing this because of moral reasons in light of the difficult images from Idlib, and also so that it will be clear that there is a price for the use of chemical weapons,” he said.
Netanyahu: Israel welcomes US airstrikes in Syria (credit: GPO)

Netanyahu added that there was an international commitment made in 2013 to remove all the chemical weapons from Syria, but “as we have seen, this has not been implemented so far.”

Netanyahu called on the international community to complete this process, saying, “This is an opportunity for US-Russian cooperation on this specific matter.”

As part of a humanitarian effort, Netanyahu said that Israel is dealing with wounded civilians from Syria “and will continue to do so.”

Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu), a member of the security cabinet, joined Netanyahu beforehand in applauding US President Donald Trump for making the right moral decision in striking the Syrian airbase on Friday morning.

He said that with the missile attack, the US displayed “common sense” and “leadership,” and praised the way the attack was carried out “tactically, operationally and strategically in a clear and precise fashion.”

National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said that the message the US sent was not only to Syrian President Bashar Assad, but also to “all dictators – in Iran, in North Korea – there will be a heavy price for the use of non-conventional weapons.”

Regarding the question of what type of humanitarian aid Israel should render, Galant said, “It is impossible to tolerate a situation where children are being choked by gas a few dozen or few hundred kilometers from our border. I think that if Israel can help, it needs to help every child wherever – certainly those who did not do anything to anyone and are suffering the horrible trauma of this war.”

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