Reservists: We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by

“We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by when we see another nation abandoned by its allies and left defenseless,” read an online petition.

October 11, 2019 02:07
3 minute read.
Reservists: We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by

Reservists train during a battalion wide exercise in the Golan Heights.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Dozens of IDF reservists have called on Israel to provide military and humanitarian support to the Kurds in Syria following Turkey’s attack in the north of the war-torn country.

“We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by when we see another nation abandoned by its allies and left defenseless,” read an online petition started by Maj. (res.) Yair Fink. “We remember very well the blood of our people, what happens when the nations of the world abandon the fate of a people.”

The petition, signed by dozens of reservists with the ranks ranging from captain to lieutenant colonel, was addressed to Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

The letter was sent shortly before the prime minister himself announced intentions to offer support to the Kurds.

The petition called on Israel to provide food, clothing, medicine, intelligence and military assistance to the Kurds in northern Syria.

“Israel is a country that has the means to help the Kurdish people, and now is the time to do so,” it read, adding that while “we know that there are broad strategic implications here, and of course we are not fully aware of the overall picture, we, who have been educated on the values of personal examples and the sanctity of life, cannot help but feel it at this time and would be happy to assist in any action.”

The petition was published on Facebook several hours before Netanyahu condemned Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish areas, warning “against the ethnic cleansing” of the Kurds by Turkey and that Israel was ready to provide humanitarian aid to the “gallant” Kurdish people.

Dozens of fighters have been killed and thousands of Kurdish civilians have fled their homes after Turkey began to pound Kurdish areas along the border before ground troops crossed into northern Syria.

The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the withdrawal of American troops was a betrayal by Washington, and that the move would turn the clock back on the five years of achievements against the Islamic State.

“The American forces did not abide by their commitments and withdrew their forces along the border with Turkey,” the SDF said in a statement. “Turkey now is preparing to invade the northern and eastern parts of Syria. The Turkish military operation in northern and eastern Syria will have a huge negative effect on our war against ISIS.”

On Sunday, US President Donald Trump announced that the US military would withdraw troops from northern Syria, effectively green-lighting a Turkish invasion into Kurdish areas that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening for months. Trump’s announcement was condemned across the globe.

“The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so,” Trump said on Twitter. “They have been fighting Turkey for decades. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out.”

When Trump announced a similar move last year – which led to the resignation of defense secretary James Mattis and the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS, Brett McGurk – analysts and experts in Israel warned that the move had significant consequences for the Jewish State.

While the Islamic State is far from its height of power when it controlled territory the size of the UK, ISIS still poses a significant threat. But the Islamic State is not the biggest concern following the withdrawal of American troops. It is Iran and its continued attempts to entrench its forces in Syria – a significant threat that Israel continues to contend with.

Netanyahu declared earlier on Thursday that Israel will continue to defend itself by itself against regional threats like Iran.

“As in 1973, today we also greatly appreciate the important support of the US,” the prime minister said during a Yom Kippur War memorial ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery. “At the same time, we always remember and implement the basic rule that guides us: Israel will protect itself, on its own, against any threat. Iran threatens to wipe us off the map, and time and again [the regime] tries to attack us, so we must stand ready to protect ourselves from the danger.”

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