Israelis Watch U.S. Abandon Kurds, and Worry: Who’s Next?
Syrian Kurds gathered around a U.S. armored vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats near a military base on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain. Credit Delil Souleiman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
JERUSALEM — Israel’s national security does not immediately depend on who controls the border of Turkey and northern Syria, more than 500 miles from its own territory.
Yet President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops there and abandon Kurdish forces, who have been stalwart American allies against the Islamic State , set off clanging alarm bells among officials in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
And for a simple reason: If such a betrayal could befall the Kurds, Israelis from across the political spectrum are suddenly asking, what prevents the same from befalling another staunch American ally?
“A knife in our back,” screamed the headline over a column by Shimon Shiffer in Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s biggest mainstream paper. “The conclusion we draw needs to be unequivocal: Trump has become unreliable for Israel. He can no longer be trusted,” the column read.
In Israel, many see America’s withdrawal, which could expose the Kurds to a Turkish attack, as desertion.
“I feel like a Kurd today,” Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and top foreign-policy official under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in an interview.