Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned “massacres of civilians” in neighbouring Syria, and accused Iran and Hezbollah of helping the regime kill innocents.
“We see what is happening in Syria. It is simply massacres of civilians, children and the elderly,” he said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
“The Syrian government, and those who help them, Iran and Hezbollah, reveal their true face, that of the ‘axis of evil.’ This is the environment we live in,” he added.
Netanyahu’s comments came after President Shimon Peres called on the international community to bolster its efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria, saying he hoped the rebels “will win” their struggle.
In an interview with Israeli public radio, Peres said the “efforts of the international community are insufficient.”
“We cannot remain indifferent to the tiny coffins that contain the bodies of children,” he said ahead of a trip to Washington.
“The massacres get worse each day. It’s shameful. I have the deepest respect for the rebels who expose themselves to live fire and I hope that they will win.”
Deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon also weighed in on the conflict in Syria on Sunday, saying the Jewish state was ready to provide humanitarian assistance.
He said Israel was shocked by the situation in its northern neighbour and was willing to provide aid, including medicines and food.
“We are in contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations, and we have asked that injured people be evacuated to Jordan, where we can help them. But we are not in contact with the rebels — that could harm them.”
The comments were part of a rare chorus of remarks from Israeli politicians on the situation in Syria, with which the Jewish state remains formally at war.
At the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March last year, Israel said little publicly, with some analysts saying Assad’s ouster could be bad for the Jewish state.
But in recent months, Israeli politicians have said Assad’s overthrow is a matter of time and have condemned the bloodshed in Syria, offering humanitarian assistance and expressing hope that the regime’s collapse could weaken the position of arch foe Iran, a staunch ally of Assad.