Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday denounced the just-launched Turkish invasion of the Kurdish region of northern Syria.
“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,” the prime minister stated.
Netanyahu’s remarks are a rare split with US President Donald Trump, who effectively gave Turkey a green light to undertake the invasion and pulled American troops out of the area.
Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked also weighed in on the situation in northern Syria, drawing an oblique comparison to the Holocaust, tweeting, “Our national memory requires us to revolt against violence directed against another nation. Such is the Turkish violence directed against the Kurdish people in northern Syria.”
“I have said this in the past: It is in the interest of both Israel and the United States, for the security and stability of the region, that a Kurdish state be established,” Shaked asserted.
“The Kurds are the world’s largest nation without a country, with a population of about 35 million people,” she added. “They are an ancient people that share a special historical connection to the Jewish people.”
“The Kurds in general, and especially those who live in Turkey and northern Syria, are the most progressive and Western in that region,” Shaked said. “They are the main force that fought against ISIS and endured thousands of deaths, under a special joint leadership of men and women.”
“The Western world should stand with them,” she concluded.
Blue and White party co-chair Yair Lapid urged that Israel penalize Turkey in response to the invasion, saying, “In light of the Turkish actions in northern Syria, I call on Justice Minister Amir Ohana to bring forth his proposed law to recognize the Armenian genocide that Bibi prevented from being raised. We will support it.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that a group of over 100 IDF officers sent a letter to Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi urging them to take action to prevent possible Turkish atrocities against the Kurds.
“As Israelis and as Jews, we must not stand idly by,” the letter said.
Turkey claims its offensive is intended to create a security buffer zone on the border with Syria and neutralize Kurdish terror groups.
The Kurds say it is a cynical attempt to destroy Kurdish military forces that have been successful in the fight against the Islamic State and ethnically cleanse the Kurdish population, replacing them with Arab Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.
The Kurdish militias in northern Syria have been staunch allies of US forces in the battle against the Islamic State.
The Algemeiner (c) 2019 . Benjamin Kerstein