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."

 

Deadly Sinai attacks force Sisi to cut short overseas trip

New Saudi king announces sweeping cabinet shake-up

Hezbollah warns it does not fear new war with Israel

Jordan still kept in the dark over pilot fate

British mosques open doors to reach out to citizens

AU: Ignoring South Sudan findings will help the guilty

Saudi blogger’s flogging postponed for third week

Iran seeks good relations with Saudi Arabia

Syria’s Qaeda fights Western-backed rebels

Abbas to visit Stockholm after Palestine recognised

UN chief to African leaders: do not 'cling to power'

Israel to go ahead with 430 new West Bank settler homes

Libya rivals to join peace talks if held on home soil

Israel reduces energy supplies to Palestinians

Syria opposition embassy in Qatar renews passports

Hezbollah sends message to Israel ‘conflict is over’

Women protest against Egypt police after fatal shooting

Libyan airline suspends flights

Iraq government vows to investigate Diyala massacre

MSF withdraws help from two Sudan states

Jordan wants to see proof pilot alive before exchange

US says thousands of Somali children facing starvation

Kuwait online activists arrested 'over Saudi criticism'

Iran, Europe officials to meet Thursday in Istanbul

IS issues new deadline to kill Jordanian pilot if demand not met

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah will pay 'full price'

African Union sees no military solution to Libya crisis

Yemen powerful militia prevents fresh protest in Sanaa

Iran appoints new UN ambassador after US visa refusal

Pentagon confirms US involvement in talks with Yemen Huthis

Hezbollah missiles threaten to spark new war in volatile region

In new website, France warns would-be jihadists: You will die alone

Israel retaliates against Hezbollah attack

Can Iraqis trust their government to rebuild their country?

Sheikh Ali Salman rejects charges as trial opens in Bahrain

Protesters try to storm UN headquarters in Gaza

UN peacekeeper killed in southern Lebanon amid border clash

Kobane in ruins after symbolic blow to jihadists

Jordan bows to IS demand

Hezbollah claims attack on Israeli military convoy

Somali PM proposes new cabinet list

Syria opposition groups, Assad representatives meet in Moscow

Yemen’s Huthis free top presidential aide

French FM urges international cooperation against extremism

Clock ticking towards 24-hour IS deadline to kill hostages