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Ratcheting Up Israeli Rhetoric On Syria

Israeli officials condemns the violence in Syria even as the end game remains unclear

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Israelis hold a flag of Free Syria during a march marking the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War(DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/GettyImages)

Shimon Peres gets his own ceremony for the President’s Medal of Freedom at the White House Wednesday. In advance of that raining of press attention — and in light of worsening circumstances — have been a series of far firmer statements from Israeli brass on Syria, starting with Peres himself:  “We cannot remain indifferent to the tiny coffins that contain the bodies of children. The massacres get worse each day,” he said, adding ,”I have the deepest respect for the rebels who expose themselves to live fire and I hope that they will win.”

And then there was Shaul Mofaz, who told Army Radio, “A crime against humanity, genocide, is being conducted in Syria today. And the silence of the world powers is contrary to all human logic.” Of course, Netanyahu’s offer of aid to Syrian rebels was promptly rejected Monday: opposition leader Abdel Basset Sayda said “we are not counting on Israeli assistance and we don’t need it.” No surprise there, of course, and Netanyahu had acknowledged as much last week: “The less I say as prime minister of Israel, the better. The more I speak about it, I will be causing damage to the people we want to help.”

But what was Netanyahu after in the first place, and what end would Israel like to see, what with no love lost for the current regime? Herb Keinon notes, “Israel does not have a clear side in this fight, it is also not necessarily in a position of wishing a pox on both houses because of its overriding concern of instability and utter chaos.”

Meanwhile, it’s not entirely clear from his piece on whether the US should kill Assad whether Peter Beinart is making a modest proposal or floating a trial balloon with the most plausible deniability possible. “It’s hard to discern any principle that distinguishes killing Assad from the targeted assassinations and humanitarian wars that command significant American political support,” could really go either way. But don’t worry! “Let me be clear: I’m not proposing that we try to kill Assad, nor even that we outsource the job to a local ally like Jordan. For one thing, it might not do much good.” Talk about burying the lede.

Israel Calls For Action As Syrian Military Shells Homs Again [Independent]
Trying To Kill Bashar al-Assad Not So Radical Given US Security Interests [Daily Beast]
What Does Israel Want To See In Syria? [JPost]

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Ratcheting Up Israeli Rhetoric On Syria

Israeli officials condemns the violence in Syria even as the end game remains unclear

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