It was revealed that last week Israeli soldiers saved a group of Irish troops serving with the United Nations who were on the brink of being captured, and possibly held hostage, or killed by Islamist extremists in the Golan Heights.
The Irish peacekeepers were under attack from the Syrian rebel group Nusra Front while on a mission to evacuate trapped Filipino UN troops. The Israeli Defense Force, which has posts on high ground overlooking the UN observer bases in Quneitra, came to their rescue.
The IDF then used their precise intelligence on the area to guide the troops to safety along a route that avoided heavily armed Nusra fighters. There are unconfirmed reports that the Israeli soldiers also directed fire at the extremists to keep them from attacking the Irish troops.
Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan declared that the Irish mission for the UN faces urgent review: “We don’t want to see Irish troops or the UN contingent being drawn into a Syrian civil war,” he told the Independent.
An article in Commentary Magazine recently described Ireland as “one of the most consistently anti-Israel countries in the EU.”
“The Golan is included in the list of ‘Israeli-occupied territories’ that [Dublin] wants Israel to quit. One wonders whether Dublin appreciates the irony that had Israel complied with this demand, IDF troops wouldn’t have been on hand last week to rescue its peacekeepers.
“But that, of course, is precisely the problem with seeking to empower your enemies rather than your allies: If you succeed, your allies will no longer be able to help you when you need them.”
Last year Ireland led the opposition in the EU against blacklisting the Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization. It also strongly opposes Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza and tried to ban the import of Israeli products into Europe.
The Independent established, citing senior sources, that Israel’s assistance was decisive in the mission’s success: “Irish soldiers would have almost certainly been killed or taken hostage by Islamist extremists if it wasn’t for the military intervention of the Israeli army during last week’s battle to save besieged UN soldiers.”