Netanyahu offers to treat wounded Aleppo civilians in Israel

by WorldTribune Staff, December 21, 2016

While maintaining its “red line” on keeping the Syrian war from spilling into Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Dec. 20 said Israel is willing to take in wounded civilians from Syria’s besieged city of Aleppo.

“We see the tragedy of the terrible suffering of the civilians,” Netanyahu said at an annual New Year’s event he holds with the foreign press.

A man waits as Syrian civil defence workers look for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed building following reported air strikes on July 17, 2016 in Aleppo. /AFP/Thaer Mohammed
A man waits as Syrian civil defense workers look for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed building in Aleppo. /AFP/Thaer Mohammed

“We are prepared to take in wounded women and children, and also men if they are not combatants. Bring them to Israel, [we will] take care of them in our hospitals as we have done with thousands of Syrian civilians. We are looking into ways of doing this. It is being explored as we speak.”

At the same time, Netanyahu said Israel will not let the Syrian war or aggression from Syria “spill over into our territory.” He said that Israel has stringently maintained its red lines on this matter.

One official said Israel is working on the logistics of how to transfer civilians from Aleppo. Up until now, the official said, most of the Syrians treated in Israel were from regions close to the Golan border.

Netanyahu said he does not see a resolution now for the Syrian situation.

“Will it come together and be a unified Syria? I doubt it. I think you have enclaves there and they are not about to disappear, but the suffering is great, and the one initiative we took is to help – as I said – thousands of Syrians who are sometimes mutilated beyond belief. We help them. I offered to do more today. I don’t know if we can resolve [the crisis in] Syria, but we can help mitigate some of the suffering. That is the best that Israel can do.”

Regarding the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu said that with the election of Donald Trump “everybody is saying, ‘How is Netanyahu going to deal with this if he does not have massive pressure on him?’ Just fine,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity to actually pursue some new ideas I intend to raise with Donald Trump when he is in the White House to see how we can solve this conflict.”

Netanyahu refuted the assertion that the settlements are the main issue.

“They are not even the most important issue, because many arrangements are possible,” he said, adding that he does not think that “removing people from their homes is one of them. I think that is a bad idea, whether it applies to Jews or to Arabs.”

Also on Dec. 20, Netanyahu spoke out against the terrorist attack in Berlin.

“Israel condemns what appears to be a terror attack in Germany. We send our condolences to the families of the victims and of course to the German government and a speedy recovery to the injured, including an Israeli citizen.”