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."

 

Britain votes to break away from EU, PM resigns

Yemen govt says rebels must withdraw before any transition

UN Chief, Saudi prince discuss situation in Yemen

5,000 migrants rescued from rubber dinghies in Mediterranean

Heat, long fasting days take their toll on Cairo residents

Libya govt. forces repel ISIS counterattack in Sirte

Oil slides on British referendum result

Crashed EgyptAir black boxes to go to France for repairs

Turkey acquits British academic over 'terror propaganda' charges

24 jailed in Bahrain for forming IS cell

Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah

Israel sentences 4 Palestinians to life

Turkey in new quest to patch up with regional foes

Defiant Bahrain moves to dissolve opposition bloc

Kurdish-Arab forces push into IS Syria bastion of Manbij

Turkey confirms new accession talks with EU

Saudi suspect found dead after gunfight in Shiite town

Suspended Kuwait sues IOC for damages

Erdogan lashes out at EU treatment of Turkey

Turkey blocks visit of German delegation to Incirlik air base

Trump goes on blistering offensive against Clinton

EU negotiators endorse new border force proposal

Head of EU parliament hopes to arrange meeting of Israeli, Palestinian leaders

Turkish prosecutors demand 14 years for activists

Final push for votes as EU leaders warn over Brexit

Egypt government appeals court block on islands’ transfer to Saudis

Assad names Imad Khamis as new Prime Minister

Turkey wants Britain to stay in EU 'under any circumstances'

EU to open new membership talks with Turkey

Turkey arrests 3 IS suspects over 'LGBT rally plot'

Yemen rebels say consensus president crucial for peace deal

Fallujah 'almost cleared' of ISIS jihadists

Dawn prayers stoke fears for Turkey's Hagia Sophia

Turkish FM says normalisation deal depends on Israel

25 civilians killed in air raids on Syria’s Raqa

UN urges international community to aid civilians who fled Fallujah

UN envoy proposes roadmap for Yemen peace

Israel to open mission at NATO headquarters

6 Jordan soldiers killed in car bomb attack

France's Peugeot-Citroen returns to Iran in €400 million deal

Israel says Palestinian teenagers were shot 'mistakenly'

Pro-government forces prepare 'decisive' assault on Libya's Sirte

Huthi rebels advance towards Yemen's biggest airbase

17 bids for canal project linking Red Sea and Dead Sea

Egypt court deals blow to cession of Red Sea islands to Saudi