Israel forced to end official silence on Syria bloodshed
The latest wave of bloodshed in Syria has forced Israel to end its long official silence on events taking place across its northern border, the foreign ministry spokesman told AFP on Monday.
“In light of the exceptional character of the massacres committed by the regime, Israel has ended the media silence which it has been observing until now,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday voiced his revulsion over the killing.
He was “revolted was by the incessant massacres conducted by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against... civilians... which continued over the weekend in the town of Houla,” Netanyahu’s office said.
The United Nations says that at least 108 people- including 49 children and 34 women -were slaughtered in the Syrian village of Houla on Friday and Saturday, many of them gruesomely blown to pieces or shot dead at point blank range.
Netanyahu’s office had not previously officially commented on the violence in Syria.
Israeli leaders, fearful of the uncertain future likely to follow the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have been restrained in their criticism so far.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, however, said on May 16 that Assad was “doomed,” and he urged the international community to increase pressure on his embattled regime
Palmor said that the Israeli change of tone was not a response to criticism from Assad’s opponents that Israel was seeking to support him.
“We are not responding out of opportunism,” he said. “Anyway both sides see us as Satan. The Syrian regime accuses us of supporting the insurgents and the insurgents say that we back Bashar al-Assad.”
Israel and Syria are officially in a state of war and are in dispute over the Golan Heights, which Israel captured during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed, but there has been no major incident along their shared border since the 1973 Middle East war.
More than 13,000 people have been killed since an uprising against Assad erupted in March last year, according to monitors.