A Canadian diplomat involved in the multinational rescue of the Syrian White Helmets has credited Israel with performing a crucial role in the operation.
“From Canada’s perspective, Israel’s role was indispensable… there was no way to save these Syrians without Israel’s coordination, collaboration and leadership,” Anthony Hinton, Canada’s Deputy Head of Mission to Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“The IDF were the ones who made it happen on the ground,” said Hinton.
The Canadian diplomat’s statement was especially noteworthy, given the lack of recognition in some quarters. While Israel was publicly praised by the U.S. State Department, the U.K. and the European Union, not everyone involved did so.
The White Helmets themselves left Israel out of their thank yous, presumably out of fear of being seen as collaborators with the “Zionist enemy.” However, France’s foreign ministry, which has no such justification, in a statement on the operation made no mention of Israeli participation at all.
Member of the French Parliament Meyer Habib was bluntly critical of the French behavior. The ministry statement read:
“Due to extensive international mobilization, a group of White Helmets and their families could leave Syria today, where there was a real danger to their safety. France has actively joined the procedures carried out by several partners to ensure the success of the operation.”
Habib blamed the omission of Israel on anti-Israel sentiments among diplomats and foreign ministry officials in France.
“They’d rather ignore the facts and reality than thank Israel. It’s pathetic and inappropriate.
“What credibility does our country have if our diplomats can only talk about Israel to condemn it?” he questioned.
Hinton added that both Israel and Jordan were approached when the crisis arose last weekend and did not hesitate to assist in the hastily-arranged operation which lasted several hours in the dark of night.
Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to Ottawa, told The Globe and Mail that when he was approached by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, “there was no disagreement. We saw eye-to-eye with her.”