Netanyahu is offering to mediate in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he is considering sending military aid to Ukraine, also expressing his willingness to play a mediating role in the conflict, after US calls for more active participation.
Netanyahu didn’t make any firm commitments to Ukraine, especially since his country maintained its relations with Russia, which controls the airspace of neighboring Syria and turns a blind eye to the Israeli raids targeting sites there belonging to its archenemy, Iran.
When Netanyahu was asked during an interview with CNN whether Israel could provide assistance to Ukraine in areas such as Iron Dome, which protects Israel from air attacks, he replied, “Well, I’m definitely considering this”.
Netanyahu stressed that the United States had transferred a stock of artillery ammunition intended for Israel to Ukraine, comparing this effort with the operations launched by his country against Iran.
He said, “The United States took a large part of the ammunition intended for Israel and passed it on to Ukraine, and frankly, Israel is also acting in ways that I won’t detail here against Iranian weapons factories that are being used against Ukraine”.
Ukrainian and Western officials have accused Iran of selling low-cost drones to Russia to use in its invasion of Ukraine, despite Tehran’s denials.
Netanyahu added that he was asked to mediate unofficially in the conflict after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but didn’t follow through because he was then in the ranks of the opposition.
He pointed out that he is ready to play the role of mediator if asked by the two parties, in addition to the United States.
“I’ve enough experience to know that there has to be a right time and right conditions, and it appears, I will definitely think about it,” he said.
Netanyahu’s statements come the day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Jerusalem, where he called for calm in the wake of the escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and urged Israel to increase its support for Ukraine.
Using language familiar to Israelis, Blinken said Ukraine needed help “because it bravely defends its people and its right to exist”.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told Blinken that he would visit Ukraine to reopen his country’s embassy, the first visit of its kind since the war.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made a surprise visit to Moscow in March to mediate with Putin.
Bennett also conveyed messages from Putin to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but was unable to arrange direct negotiations between the two parties.