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April 19, 2013 12:53 am

Netanyahu Hints at Possibility of Israel Arming Syrian Rebels

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Prime Minister Netanyahu. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during an interview with the BBC, did not rule out the possibility that Israel may arm moderate rebel groups in Syria.

“We are very careful,” Netanyahu told the BBC interviewer. “I have said that the arming of rebels presents the question of which rebels and which arms, and it is a very complicated question for every country, including my country Israel.”

Israel has largely stayed out of the two-year long civil war in Syria. Nevertheless, Israel has defended its territory and interests. It has occasionally returned fire against Syrian elements across the Golan Heights border as well as purportedly targeting a Syrian military convoy headed to supply the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

While arming rebels in Syria would be extremely risky for Israel, some experts believe that it would be in Israel’s interest to supply arms to moderate rebel forces. Israel may even work with Turkey, which it is trying to mend relations with, to help arm these groups.

“Israel has to signal to the Muslim world that Israel joins them in the struggle against a common enemy Iran,” Moshe Maoz, a Syria expert at Hebrew University, told the Associated Press. “Maybe Netanyahu is going in that direction.”

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