Netanyahu: Israel Backs Trump's Airstrikes Against Syria's Assad

'A year ago, I declared Israel’s full support for Trump’s decision to take a stand against the use and spread of chemical weapons,' Netanyahu says

FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, April 10, 2018.
Moti Milrod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued his first response Saturday evening to airstrikes carried out by the U.S., France and the U.K. against targets in Syria overnight, of which Israel was informed in advance.

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"A year ago, I declared Israel’s full support for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to take a stand against the use and spread of chemical weapons," Netanyahu said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office. "Trump’s resolve and Israel’s support remain unchanged."

Netanyahu went on to say that "the United States' decision, along with France and Britain's support, showed that their commitment to combat chemical weapons is not limited to declarations alone.

"It should be clear to President [Bashar] Assad that his reckless efforts to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, his wanton disregard for international law and his provision of a forward base for Iran and its proxies endanger Syria."

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The White House was in touch with Jerusalem ahead of the overnight airstrikes on Syria. Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, spoke in the last few days with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben Shabbat, to coordinate details of the U.S.-led attack on Syria, which took place early Saturday morning.

The U.S. and its allies France and the U.K. launched an overnight strike on multiple Syrian targets, in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad regime's chemical attack a week ago. The targets included research centers in Damascus believed to have produced chemical weapons.

Trump said Washington was prepared to "sustain" pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

In a statement released Saturday evening, Netanyahu also reaffirmed Israel's support of Trump's airstrikes. "A year ago, I declared Israel’s full support for Trump’s decision to take a stand against the use and spread of chemical weapons. President Trump’s resolve and Israel’s support remain unchanged," Netanyahu said.

Russia and Iran warned of "consequences" after the strike. "The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries," the Russian embassy in the U.S. said in a statement.