Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon acknowledged on Monday that his government helps Syrian rebels fighting against the Assad regime on condition that they keep the Israel-Syria border secure. The protection of the Druze minority from immediate danger is also a condition for support, the Israeli media has reported. He made the disclosure to Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Tel Aviv.
“When someone wounded comes close to the border, you need to offer treatment for him,” the minister was quoted by Al-Quds newspaper. He said that Israel sends messages through wounded Syrians that if they want Israeli assistance to continue, the rebels need to stick to its conditions.
According to Ya’alon, more than 1,000 Syrians have received medical assistance in Israeli hospitals since the start of the revolution in 2011. “Israel will continue to act with sensitivity regarding the Druze,” Ya’alon said according to Times of Israel. “On the other hand, the rebels on the other side also feel that we’re acting sensitively.”
Last week, a crowd of Druze on the occupied Golan Heights attacked an Israeli ambulance carrying two Syrian rebels. One of them died and the other suffered critical injuries.
The Druze acted “irresponsibly” last week, said Ya’alon. “The person in the Israeli ambulance was not affiliated with Al-Nusra Front, and his death will provoke calls for revenge.”
According to Israeli officials, around 110,000 Druze live in the north of Israel, with 20,000 on the occupied Golan Heights.