Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Syrian doctor treats a child at a makeshift hospital in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. (Credit: DLIB MEDIA CENTER, VIA AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “sharply condemned” the chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province on Tuesday and called on the international community to complete the process of removing all of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

“When I saw pictures of babies suffocating from a chemical attack in Syria, I was shocked and outraged. There’s no, none, no excuse whatsoever for the deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons,” he said in English at a memorial service for president Chaim Herzog. “I call on the international community to fulfill its obligation from 2013 to fully and finally remove these horrible weapons from Syria.”

Netanyahu also said the lack of action proved the international community was not to be trusted to come to Israel’s aid.

“This terrible war underlines our main imperative– we will always defend ourselves with our own strength, against any enemy and any threat,” he said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon also strongly condemned the attack, as a result of which roughly 100 people were reported killed and hundreds more injured.

Danon decried “the use of chemical weapons and the appalling murder of innocent children,” calling the attack “evil incarnate.”

He called on the UN Security Council to “use all its authority to put an end to the situation in Syria.”

“The world must not remain silent in the face of crimes against humanity. The international community should act immediately to stop the ongoing massacre of civilians,” he said.

Danon’s statements came as the US, Britain and France on Tuesday proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn the attack, which the countries blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“Israel was right these past six years in not getting militarily involved in the Syrian conflict,” said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. “Nevertheless, the situation in Syria requires action in the diplomatic arena. Israel can engage with its friends in the world to work towards putting a stop to these atrocities. Israel doesn’t turn its back on the wounded in Syria. We have treated and continue to treat wounded Syrian children in Israeli hospitals.”

According to Reuters, the draft of the resolution calls on the Syrian government to provide an international investigation with information about flight plans around the time of the attack, helicopter squadron commanders and air bases believed to be linked to chemical attacks. It “expresses its outrage that individuals continue to be killed and injured by chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, and expresses its determination that those responsible must be held accountable”.

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