Israel explores way to bring in wounded Aleppo victims

Government may fund humanitarian agencies in Syria

December 22, 2016 05:50
3 minute read.
A man holds a baby saved from under rubble

A man holds a baby saved from under rubble, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Aleppo. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel is examining the possibility of bringing some of the wounded from Aleppo for medical treatment to Israel through a third country.

Ambassador to Turkey Eitan Na’eh was asked in an Israel Radio interview on Wednesday whether he has received instructions to examine the possibility of bringing the wounded to hospitals in Israel via Turkey.

“The issue is being checked,” he said. “We will check what we can do, everyone who sees the images from Syria, and especially from Aleppo, cannot but be shocked by the suffering of the civilians, and try to do what is possible to ease their suffering.”

Since the civil war began, Israel has treated some 3,000 injured in a military field hospital on the Golan Heights, as well as in other hospitals inside the country. These people entered Israel via the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu: Israel considers treating Aleppo refugees in its hospitals

Aleppo, however, is not near the border with Israel, rather some six hours to the north, making transporting them for treatment much more difficult.

One possibility is to evacuate them to southern Turkey, and then fly them to Israel.

Tarik Jasarevic, a World Health Organization spokesman, was quoted this week as saying that as of Monday, 301 injured were evacuated from Aleppo, with 93 of them going to hospitals in Turkey, and the rest to hospitals in rebel-held territories near Aleppo.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he has directed the Foreign Ministry to see how the injured can be brought to Israel for treatment. “We are looking into ways of doing this,” he said.

“We see the tragedy of the terrible suffering of the civilians,” Netanyahu said.

“We are prepared to take in wounded women and children, and also men if they are not combatants – bring them to Israel, take care of them in our hospitals as we have done with thousands of Syrian civilians.”

Jerusalem is also looking into the possibility of giving money to humanitarian agencies helping civilians in Syria.

On Monday, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef sent a letter to the prime minister asking him to provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees. He subsequently spoke to him by phone about the matter, on Tuesday afternoon.

Yosef said in his letter to Netanyahu that as Jews who have suffered in the past from global silence in the face of violence, the Jewish people must not be silent over what is happening in Syria.

The chief rabbi recalled his meeting with President Reuven Rivlin two months ago together with Muslim religious leaders, where the rabbi said that Israel had ignored what he described as genocide in Syria.

“Now it has been brought to my attention that the Red Cross organization is evacuating tens of thousands of homeless refugees hungry for bread from the ruins of the destroyed city of Aleppo,” the chief rabbi wrote in his letter to Netanyahu, released on Tuesday night.

“If you will permit me, this is an opportunity in which there is the possibility to help assist and cooperate, through cooperation with the Red Cross or similar organizations, to provide humanitarian assistance to these refugees, food, medical supplies and the like.

“This should be our eternal declaration, that we the Children of Israel who believe in the sanctity of life do not distinguish between blood and blood and we treat all people as those who were created in the image of God, even if we are talking about enemies,” the rabbi said.

Last week, Shas leader Arye Deri said that Jews cannot remain silent in the face of the massacre taking place in Syria.

“Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust and the world was silent,” Deri said.

“As Jews, it is forbidden for us to be silent in the face of the horrors that have been taking place in Syria for nearly six years now."

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