Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon admitted on Monday that Israel has been giving medical assistance to Syrian insurgents, but on condition that they not harm Syria’s Druze population.
Members of the Israeli Druze, agitated about the danger to their brethren in Syria from rebels fighting the Assad regime, carried out a “lynching” last week of a Syrian rebel being transported for treatment via ambulance in Israel.
But on Monday, Yaalon maintained that the Syrian Druze community was not in immediate danger.
In a press briefing, Yaalon explained that Israel knew from the beginning that there were rebels among those it was helping and “placed two conditions on this aid — that terrorist groups not approach the fence, and that the Druze not be touched.”
Israel has said it has also sent food and water across the frontier. However, this is not a simple matter either.
Yaalon noted that while some Israeli Druze have demanded that Israel come to the aid of the Syrian Druze, the latter are themselves wary of receiving such assistance, lest they be viewed as allied with the Israelis.
In addition, the ambulance incident provoked calls for vengeance in Syria against the Druze community there.
The Defense Minister reiterated Israel’s policy of staying out of the Syrian conflict, except insofar as it will act to interdict shipments of strategic weapons to Hizbullah and to protect Israeli territorial integrity.
Yaalon would not, however, speculate on the future of Syria, or even the contention of some that the country has already broken into pieces. No decisive outcome can be foreseen in the near future, he said.