A well-known Lebanese political analyst has expressed admiration for Israel, claiming the Jewish State could have protected Aleppo, Syria from its current state of chaos. Nadim Koteich, talk show host and Middle East expert, tweeted the sentiment Friday.
أتمنى لو ان إسرائيل ضمت حلب، لكانت آمنة اليوم أسوة بالجولان. أفضل للحلبيين ان يكونوا تحت الاحتلال من كونهم تحت الركام.
— Nadim Koteich (@NadimKoteich) April 30, 2016
“I wish that Israel had annexed Aleppo; [then] it would have been safe today, like the Golan. Better for the people of Aleppo to live under occupation than under the rubble,” he wrote in Arabic.
In the book of Joshua, the ancient Israelites similarly protected the city of Gibeon from invaders.
Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights after capturing the region from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel’s claim to the area is hotly contested by Syria, which continues to demand the return of the territory.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Israel would never relinquish the Golan Heights, which he described as an “integral part of the Land of Israel in ancient times…and…in the present time.” His words prompted Syrian anger and international backlash, with the UN condemning Netanyahu for his words.
Coming as it does on the heels of Netanyahu’s announcement, Koteich’s comment enraged many Syrian social media activists.
“The bloodshed in Aleppo and throughout the revolution increases our hatred of the Zionists, for were it not for Israel, Assad would have long been gone,” one user tweeted. Others cursed Koteich for supporting the Jewish State, with some calling for his incarceration as an Israeli agent.
Koteich is not shy with his opinions. As anchor of Future Television Network’s daily program DNA , he is often critical of Iran and the Islamic Republic’s involvement in his country’s affairs. According to The Jerusalem Post, he has described Lebanon today as a “mafia state” controlled by Hezbollah.
Aleppo has been subjected to relentless bombing by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in the past week as they try to oust rebel forces from the city’s outskirts. Aleppo was excluded from Friday’s truce, brokered by America and Russia, and as such airstrikes have continued, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties.