Netanyahu: Israel ´appalled´ by Syria massacre; Iran and Hezbollah must also be held responsible (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Barak Ravid and Reuters 05/27/12)
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For the first time since the Syrian uprising began over a year ago,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement
condemning the slaughter.
In the statement, released by the prime minister´s office, Netanyahu
expressed "appall at the continuous slaughter of innocent civilians
by (President Bashar) Assad´s forces." He added that "Iran and
Hezbollah cannot be separated from Assad´s massacre, and the world
needs to take action against them as well."
On Saturday, Syrian activists reported that a Syrian artillery
barrage killed at least 108 people, including dozens of children, in
the worst violence since the start of a UN peace plan to staunch the
flow of blood from Syria´s uprising.
The bloodied bodies of children, some with their skulls rent by
shrapnel, were shown lying in a room to the sound of wailing in
footage posted to YouTube which purported to show the victims of the
shelling in the central town of Houla on Friday.
In the past 16 months Netanyahu has said almost nothing about the
situation in Syria, nor did he release any statements condemning the
violence; when he did relate to the issue, it was in response to
questions he was asked.
On the other hand, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has taken a
tough stand on the matter, and in recent months has repeatedly called
for Assad to resign. He also offered humanitarian aid to the Syrian
Netanyahu disagreed with Lieberman´s approach – favoring not to
officially comment on the situation – yet his silence was construed
by many in the international community, the Arab world and the Syrian
opposition as an interest in preserving Assad´s regime.
Late Sunday, the UN Security Council on Sunday unanimously condemned
the Syrian government for heavy-weapons attacks on the town of Houla,
the site of Saturday´s massacre, the council president said.
"The Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the
killings, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men,
women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village
of (Houla), near Homs, in attacks that involved a series of
government artillery and tank shellings on a residential
neighborhood," the non-binding statement said.
"The Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by
shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse," said the
statement, which was read out after the council´s three-hour
emergency meeting by Azerbaijan´s Deputy UN Ambassador Tofig Musayev.
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that U.S. President Barack
Obama is working to convince Russia to join an effort to implement a
Yemen-style transfer of power in Syria.
According to Obama´s reported plan, President Assad would step down
from power, while several members of his regime would remain in
office, as was the case with ousted Yemen President Ali Abdullah
Saleh earlier this year.
To accomplish this, the U.S. president is reportedly seeking the aid
of staunch Assad ally Russia, hoping to sway Moscow away from its
total objection to the idea of regime change in Syria. (© Copyright
2012 Ha´aretz 05/28/12)
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