Syria: Israel Between a Rock and a Hard Place

August 29, 2013 14:04

The current news cycle is, unsurprisingly, dominated by Syria and the increasing probability of a US-led military strike in reaction to President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

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Particularly as Israel may be unable to avoid playing some part in this fluid situation despite her stated wish to stay out of the Syrian imbroglio.

Illustrative of the dilemmas facing Israel is this headline from Politico:

While there will always be those who will blame Israel for virtually anything and everything (British MP George Galloway even accused Israel of supplying chemical weapons to al-Qaeda in Syria), the current conundrum over action against Syria places Israel between a rock and a hard place.

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Particularly in reference to Iraq, Israel’s detractors have resorted to accusations, some wrapped in anti-Semitic tropes, of a hidden hand or puppet master pushing the U.S. into Mideast wars. Openly support Western military intervention and Israel will, once again, be portrayed as a warmonger and held partially responsible for any fallout or failures that may occur as a result of a Syrian campaign.

On the other hand, there is no good outcome for Israel. While the removal of Assad and the resultant clipping of Iranian and Hezbollah wings would be welcome, the prospect of an anarchic Syrian state dominated by jihadists and terror organizations right on the Israeli border is not a desirable outcome.

But what if Israel or the so-called “Israel lobby” is silent? Could the headline above imply that not only is Israel not prepared to publicly back its greatest ally but also that it takes no moral stand against the Syrian use of chemical weapons?

On the contrary. Israel may not have taken a public stand one way or another on the efficacy of a military strike against Syria but it has come out strongly against Assad’s appalling crimes.

So staying silent on Syria is not an indication that Israel is ignoring the moral imperative to come out strongly against the use of chemical weapons. At the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu stated:

What happened in Syria was a tragedy and a horrible crime. Our hearts go out to the women, children and babies who were attacked so cruelly with weapons of mass destruction.

This must not continue. The most dangerous regimes in the world must not be allowed to hold the most dangerous weapon in the world. We expect this stop. We are poised and ready. We will always know how to defend ourselves.

Here in HonestReporting’s Jerusalem offices, we can see for ourselves how everyday life is continuing even as a limited number of IDF reservists are called up distribution centers across the country struggle to cope with the thousands of people who, only now, have decided to pick up their gas mask kits.

While the estimates that Syria will strike Israel are small, the graphic below serves as a reminder that, in the combustible environment of the Middle East, Israel faces threats from all sides.


Source material can be found at this site.

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