Israel will continue to care for Syrian wounded, prime minister vows


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will continue to care for Syrians wounded in the country’s civil war as part of its “humanitarian effort” to help the embattled country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also reiterated Israel’s full support of the United States’ airstrike on a Syrian military installation in the wake of a chemical attack on the rebel-held province of Idlib in northern Syrian, believed to have been delivered by government airstrike. Some 86 men, women and children died in the attack, which was believed to have released deadly sarin nerve gas.

“Israel fully supports the American attack on Syria. They did this for moral reasons in light of the harsh scenes from Idlib and also to make it clear that there is a price for using chemical weapons,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“There is an international commitment from 2013 to remove all chemical weapons from Syria. As we have seen, this commitment has yet to be fully implemented. We call on the international community to complete the work, and this is an opportunity for American-Russian cooperation in this specific area. This work needs to be completed,” he also said.

“Israel is caring for wounded Syrians as part of a humanitarian effort. We will continue to do so,” Netanyahu said. Israel reportedly has treated some 3,000 Syrians wounded in the fighting at field hospitals on the border or in Israeli hospitals.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Syrian students protesting the gas attack outside the offices of the United Nations in the Syrian capital Damascus shouted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Also on Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump officially notified Congress of the attack on Syria, saying that he “acted in the vital national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations and as commander in chief and chief executive” and that the U.S. “will take additional action, as necessary and appropriate, to further its important national interests.”

He also wrote in the letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate president pro tempore Orrin Hatch: “I directed this action in order to degrade the Syrian military’s ability to conduct further chemical weapons attacks and to dissuade the Syrian regime from using or proliferating chemical weapons, thereby promoting the stability of the region and averting a worsening of the region’s current humanitarian catastrophe.”