JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the Turkish assault on Northeast Syria and offered humanitarian aid to the Kurds.
“Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people,” the Prime Minister said.
Dozens of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reservists went a step further, signing a petition calling on Netanyahu as Prime Minister and Defense Minister to send help to the Kurds.
“We, as Israelis and Jews, must not stand by when we see another nation abandoned by its allies and left defenseless,” read a letter signed by dozens of reserve IDF officers started by Res. Maj. 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 said that Israel has the means to help the Kurdish people and should do so by sending food, clothing, medicine, intelligence and military assistance.
“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,” it said.
Professor Efraim Inbar of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies said that while Israel’s sympathy is with the Kurds, sending practical help would be difficult.
Inbar said that it’s America’s privilege to decide on its foreign policy.
“For Israel, of course, we prefer always a strong America that is involved in world affairs,” Inbar told CBN News.
“To some extent it reflects the new situation in the Middle East, where the Arab world is weak and Turkey and Iran play a greater role,” Inbar said. “The Sunni powers are weak. Syria is being divided and Saudi Arabia is also weak.”
“It’s not good for Israel. But we’ll manage,” he added.
Several commentators in Israel have warned that Israel must pay attention to the US withdrawal of troops from a former ally. They say that Israel shouldn’t depend on the US. But Inbar said those warnings are exaggerated.
“We’ve never relied on the Americans. We always decided to fight on our own,” he said. “So there is no new lesson for us.”
As a result of the Turkish invasion, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have threatened to surrender to Syrian President Bashar Assad, that would bring Iranian forces closer to Israel. But Inbar said that while that is true Israel is actually already fighting Iran.
“We fight them. There is a war,” Inbar said.
“We are the only ones that fight Iran. We fight literally not (in a) euphemistic way. We are targeting Iranian bases (in Syria and Iraq). We are targeting Iranian bases or militias supported by Iran. Who else is doing it in the Middle East? Only us,” he said.
“We have to adjust to a new Middle East (in) which Iran shows their muscles,” Inbar added. “We are in war. It’s not a good idea to fight the Turkish army. We have enough on (our) plates.”