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Will Israel welcome Syrian refugees?

The Israeli government has barred entry to Syrian refugees massing along its border, and although Israel is providing them with humanitarian aid, their increasing numbers are leading many to fear a pending humanitarian crisis.
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In the past few days, the Syrian army has extended its assault in the country’s southwest, driving thousands from their homes. After a week of fighting, with thousands of Syrian refugees pouring toward Israel on the southern Golan Heights, and despite the human tragedy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not changed his policy barring the entry of refugees except for urgent medical cases.

“We will continue to defend our borders,” Netanyahu told the press at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on July 1. “We will extend humanitarian assistance to the extent of our abilities. We will not allow entry into our territory, and we will demand that the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement with the Syrian army be strictly upheld.” He added that he is continually in contact with the White House and the Kremlin, and that the defense minister and chief of staff are in constant contact with their counterparts as well.

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