Israel today rejected “completely and unequivocally” a Syrian charge of “barbarism” and cruelty in connection with the treatment of a severely wounded Syrian helicopter pilot captured by Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Israel’s UN Ambassador, Yosef Tekoah, also denied the Syrian charge that the pilot, Lt. Col. Adnan Elhaj Khedr was operated on in an Israeli field hospital
In a letter to Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. Ambassador Tekoah stated that in fact, “the quick, efficient and devoted medical attention” given Lt. Col. Khedr “undoubtedly saved his life after the crash of his helicopter, in which his right leg was severed and the other crushed beyond recovery.” Tekoah asserted: “No amputation operation took place in a field hospital. Only first aid attention was given in the field, including blood transfusions and morphine injections. Lt. Col. Khedr was then immediately transferred to a hospital where the necessary amputation was performed.”
Tekoah’s letter referred to a letter addressed to the Secretary General by the Syrian UN Ambassador Feb. 25 which included a Syrian complaint to the International Committee of the Red Cross dated Jan. 16. The Syrian note was not transmitted to Israel by the IRC “which evidently did not consider the Syrian complaint of a character justifying transmission to the Israeli authorities,” Tekoah said.
The Israeli diplomat noted that Red Cross delegates who have visited Syrian POWs in Israel including the wounded report that “the treatment given to the prisoners of war is in accordance with the highest medical standards.” Tekoah noted further that Khedr himself had expressed praise for the medical treatment he received at Israeli hands.
“The purpose of the Syrian letter is obvious.” Tekoah wrote. “It is to try to spread atrocity propaganda in a blatant attempt to cover up the grave charges made against the Syrian authorities in the Israel complaints of deliberate murder….” Tekoah requested that his letter be circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.