Israeli Government Considers Treating Syrian Children Wounded in Chemical Attack

JERUSALEM, Israel — Israel’s security diplomatic cabinet on Sunday discussed ways to help Syrian children wounded in a chemical weapons attack last week in the town of Idlib.

During the cabinet’s weekly meeting, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz proposed bringing some of the children hurt in the attack, who had since then been transported to Turkey, for treatment in the Jewish State.

According to a report in Israel Hayom, Katz said the issue was a moral and ethical issue, but Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman objected to the proposal.

Liberman refused to comment further on his objection and said upon exiting the meeting: “I do not refer to cabinet discussions and regret that ministers, even before the discussion is through, systematically leak from the meeting.”

Hebrew-language news website Ynet reported Liberman’s reasoning was the difficulty in coordinating the transfer of the children from Turkey to Israel.

According to Haaretz, Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan supported Katz’s proposal.

Interior Affairs Minister Aryeh Deri’s proposal from several weeks ago to permanently absorb 100 Syrian orphans for relocation to Israel was not discussed in the meeting.

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued after the meeting said: “There was no proposal for a cabinet decision and there was no vote. Ministers expressed their opinions on the subject and it was decided that the issue will be examined it will be checked whether it is at all possible to bring children from Idlib for medical treatment. Absorbing them in Israel is not what was discussed.”

At the beginning of the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel was “fully supportive” of the American attack on a Syrian airbase, carried out in response to the chemical weapons attack.

“They do it out of moral necessity in the face of the difficult images coming from Idlib and also so it would be clear – there’s a price for deploying chemical weapons,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel is continuing to treat wounded civilians from Syria as part of a global humanitarian effort “and will continue to do so.”

Also on Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited Israel’s northern border and a hospital in Nahariya, a town in northern Israel. Rivlin praised the staff at the hospital, which has been among those treating casualties from the Syrian civil war. He told the hospital director Dr. Masad Barhoum: “Your work is Jewish and Israeli pride, and proof that the world is built with grace.”

Last week, the IDF treated seven Syrians who were wounded by shrapnel during bombings of villages close to the Israeli-Syrian border.

According to Yisrael Hayom, since the IDF started treating Syrians wounded in the war in early 2013, some 3,000 were treated in Israeli medical facilities, of which some 20 percent are children, and 10 percent are women.


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