First Published: 2013-01-27

 

Israel: We won’t wait till use of chemical weapons to attack Syria

 

Shalom says any sign that Syria's grip on its suspected chemical weapons is slipping as it battles armed uprising, could trigger Israeli military strikes.

 

Middle East Online

Shalom: Crossing of red lines would require different approach

JERUSALEM – Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said on Sunday any sign that Syria's grip on its suspected chemical weapons is slipping as it battles an armed uprising, could trigger Israeli military strikes.

Shalom confirmed a media report that Netanyahu had last week convened security chiefs to discuss the civil war in nearby Syria and the state of the country's chemical arsenal.

The meeting, held on Wednesday, had not been publicly announced and was seen as especially unusual as it came while votes were still being counted from Israel's national election the day before, which Netanyahu's party list won narrowly.

Should Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas or rebels battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad obtain Syrian chemical weapons, Shalom told Israel's Army Radio, "it would dramatically change the capabilities of those organizations."

Such a development would be "a crossing of all red lines that would require a different approach, including even preventive operations," he said - alluding to military intervention, for which Israeli generals have said plans have been readied.

"The concept, in principle, is that this (chemical weapons transfer) must not happen," Shalom said. "The moment we begin to understand that such a thing is liable to happen, we will have to make decisions."

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would seek a broad and stable coalition to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions and the possible transfer of Syrian weapons.

"The entire region is raging and we must be prepared, strong, and determined in the face of any possible development," he told his cabinet ahead of its weekly meeting.

"That is why I will strive to form a government as broad and stable as possible, to deal with all the significant security threats facing Israel."

Netanyahu is expected to be formally tasked by President Shimon Peres in the coming days with forming a coalition, after legislative elections last week in which his joint list won most seats in the parliament.

In his remarks, Netanyahu referred to International Holocaust Day, which is marked on Sunday, and accused Iran's leaders of "denying the existence of the Holocaust, while preparing what they think will be the next Holocaust -- destroying the Jewish state."

"They are not stopping their incessant and systematic race to obtain nuclear weapons to reach that end," he said. "We do not take those threats lightly, and will prevent them, this is our first priority as a government and people."

Netanyahu has frequently warned about the danger of Iran's nuclear programme of uranium enrichment, which Israel and much of the West believes hides a weapons drive.

He has refused to rule out the option of unilateral military action if all other ways to halt the programme fail.

Israel is itself widely believed to be the Middle East's only nation with an atomic weapons capability.

The premier on Sunday stressed the need to "look around, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies, what is happening in other arenas with lethal weapons in Syria, which is falling apart."

 

72-hour ceasefire in Gaza goes into effect

Libya jihadists declare Benghazi ‘Islamic emirate’

Morocco king deplores unequal wealth distribution

US plans largest ever sale of lethal missiles to Iraq

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer

Identification of Air Algerie crash victims ‘could take years’

Philippines prepares to evacuate 13,000 citizens from Libya

Jihadists fight on more than one front in Syria

Sudan Christian woman chooses US as final destination to settle down

France moves to disband violent Jewish group

Chief of Iran Quds Force ridicules calls to disarm Hamas

US supports Israel with weapons, Gaza with sweet words

Syria Kurds battle jihadists killing nearly 50

West watches post-Gathafi Libya descend in chaos

Carnage in Gaza Strip as death toll passes 1,300

Mosul’s residents rise up against jihadists

Militants fire at Tunisia army helicopter

Islamists capture key Benghazi army base

16 killed in Israeli shelling of UN school in Gaza

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa