For months social media users experts on international affairs indulged in guessing games if the notorious Islamic State enjoyed the backing of Israel arguing that the dreaded terrorist organisation’s actions were in sharp contradictions with the teachings of Islam, it claimed to represent.
While the jury is still out on the possible links of Israel with the IS, the former head of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad has confessed that his country was actively providing medical aid to the fighters of al-Nusra Front on the Syrian border.
Speaking to Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera’s programme, UpFront, Efraim Halevy said that he was not concerned that Israel had treated fighters in Syria from al-Nusra Front, which is essentially al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch.
“It’s always useful […] to deal with your enemies in a humane way,” Halevy says.
When Hasan pressed him on whether he believed the assistance was purely humanitarian, Halevy responded, “I didn’t say there’s no tactical [consideration]. I said the main consideration, the immediate consideration is humane.”
Halevy, however, made it clear that his country would not support the treatment of wounded Hezbollah fighters because Israel had been targeted by Hezbollah, but “not specifically targeted by al-Qaeda.”
Al-Nusra Front and its links with Al-Qaeda
Al-Nusra or The Front for the Defence of the Syrian People, according to BBC, first announced its existence with a video posted online in January 2012.
In the statement, the group said it was behind many of the suicide bombings that had rocked Syria since the uprising began in March 2011.
Halevy’s stunning admission to Al-Jazeera TV assumes significance in light of the realignment of al-Nusra in Syria in 2013, when it announced merging with al-Qaeda in the war-ravaged country.
Al-Nusra’s pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda had come in April 2013, just days after al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had called on jihadis to do everything possible to bring about an Islamic state in Syria.
Soon, the al-Nusra front’s official website began to post official messages of al-Qaeda leaders.
Israel’s support to al-Nusra has come to light even as the US has blacklisted the group as a terrorist organisation in response to the bombing campaigns.
While, Israel has only confirmed providing medical help to the ‘terrorist organisation,’ according to the United Nations Documents on UNDOF (official UN source) Israeli interactions with the Syrian rebels have been documented.
If the international community were to pull-up Israel on this fact, they would do what Washington, Saudi Arabia and others have done – which is claim they are only dealing with the fictional “moderate rebels” – most of whom have been shown time and time again –to be defecting over to ISIS.
Israel’s links with ISIS
A new report by the UN last year revealed that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) had maintained regular contact with members of the ISIS since May 2013.
Reporting on the UN report, addictinginfo.org said in February 2015 , “It is revealed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. Initial reports from the IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but that story fell apart when the UN observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed at this time. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council. This report from the UN strengthens the claims by the Syrian regime that Israel is heavily involved in operations within the nation.”
What’s more! When the United States first began its operations against the ISIS, Israeli high command had seemed reluctant to give any support and called the move a mistake.