Physicians for Human Rights Calls for Israel to Accept Syrian Refugees

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) called on Israel to develop a coherent policy of allowing Syrian refugees to enter its territory and to act according to its values and international law.

Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees (Photo: Activestills)

“Israel is obligated to allow Syrian refugees to enter its territory and escape the fighting,” says Ran Goldstein, the director of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel. “Israel must develop a clear and systematic policy of absorbing Syrian refugees. At a time when thousands are fleeing and knocking on the doors of Europe and the Middle East every day, Israel, which shares its northeastern border with Syria, cannot be the only one to shut its eyes to what is happening only a few kilometers from its territory. It is not enough to talk about the situation and be shocked. Specific, concrete actions must be taken to save lives. What is needed is a humanitarian policy that is consistent with Israel’s international undertakings to protect refugees and enables Syrian civilians who need protection to be taken in until they can safely return home according to the basic principles of human rights and international law.”

According to PHR “the present Israeli government policy towards the victims of the war in Syria reflects confusion, lack of transparency, and above all repudiation of political and moral responsibility. Indeed, wounded Syrians who come to the border with Israel do receive medical care by devoted medical teams, who are worthy of every praise. However, limited treatment is not an alternative to comprehensive policy based on moral foundations.”

Israel must allow the wounded who received treatment in its territory to remain, if they wish, until the end of fighting in Syria and to receive protection. At the very least, alternative forms of assistance should be offered in terms of transfer to the refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. These measures are even called for by the provisions of the International Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Israel is a state party.