Lieberman: Israel 'Not Inactive' on Syria
MK Avigdor Lieberman, Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Thursday that Israel was “not standing aside” in the wake of the violence in Syria.
"We are not completely inactive, and there is no need for details,” Lieberman told a local Tel Aviv radio station in an interview Thursday.
Calls have been rising in Israel and abroad for intervention by Western powers, especially the U.S., to stem the violence in Syria after revelations of what appears to be a major chemical weapons attack by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on opponents Wednesday.
In the interview, Lieberman said that some of Israel's activities regarding Syria were public. “We have been treating people injured in the Syrian fighting, despite the fact that this is problematic,” he said.
However, Lieberman added, Israel had been active in other ways.
"What is happening in Syria is connected to Israel's security,” he said. “I think the state is acting properly and doing what is expected in order to defend Israeli citizens.”
He would not elaborate, but Israel is believed to be behind a number of airstrikes on Syrian "game-changing" arms headed to Lebanon's Hezbollah, including anti-aircraft missiles.
Earlier Thursday, Labor MK Yitzchak Herzog wrote on his Facebook page that the U.S. needed to intervene in Syria. “The pictures from Syria are frightening,” Herzog wrote. “Those who know my position for that past two years on this know that I advocated for American intervention from the beginning. Had this occurred, the terrible human suffering that is taking place in Syria could have been averted, and the country might have moved to a democratic period.
In a letter revealed Wednesday, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said that he was opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria. In a letter to New York Congressman Elliot Engel earlier in the week, Dempsey wrote that “Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides. It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not,” he wrote.
Speaking Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem accused Israel of orchestrating international opinion against Syria. Muallem said that Israel has attacked Syrian army installations on the Golan Heights, and has opened its borders to rebels injured in the fighting. Muallem denied that Syria had used chemical weapons to attack its citizens, and that it was the rebels who were using such weapons.