Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given an order to leave Israelis without working gas masks for fear that Syria would see the redistribution of masks as preparing for war.
Following the Second Lebanon War, it was decided to collect the masks for refurbishing, which had been distributed long ago due to the threat of Saddam Hussein using chemical weapons. Barak has ordered that process halted.
Army Radio reports that Barak issued the directive despite the fact that Syria has built up a huge arsenal of missiles capable of holding biological and chemical warheads.
Israel’s intelligence agencies are still uncertain about the possibility of a Syrian attack, but top officials have made regular statements about the importance of avoiding any actions that could be misinterpreted by Syria, lest such result in a Syrian response that might spur a war.
"Israel is not interested in war with Syria, and we believe that Syria does not want war either," DM Barak declared Wednesday, while observing a military exercise in the Golan Heights. "Therefore war shouldn't erupt.”
Syria has significantly upgraded its military capabilities and readiness, while Hizbullah has been buying up land in southern Lebanon to be used as staging areas for another conflict with the Jewish state. Recent intelligence reports say Syria has attempted to neutralize Israel’s superior Air Force by deploying huge batteries of anti-aircraft missiles across the country.
MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) expressed outrage at Barak’s hindering of the protection of Israel’s citizens, saying it was “reminiscent of Moshe Dayan’s decision not to call up the reserves in order not to upset the Syrians and Egyptians on the eve of the Yom Kippur War.”
Steinitz, who heads the Knesset Committee of the Home Front said Barak should know that a conscious decision not to defend Israel’s citizens from chemical and biological attack will cause him one day to “stand before a commission of inquiry next to which the Winograd Committee will pale in comparison.”
Nasrallah: We Have ‘Big Surprises’ Ready For Next War
Speaking via video before hundreds of thousands of Lebanese Muslim supporters in a Beirut soccer stadium Tuesday, Hizbullah arch terrorist Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said that in a future war, the terror group has “big surprises” in store for Israel.
Nasrallah’s speech was in honor of the one-year anniversary of the UN-backed cease fire agreement brokered by the Olmert government. Hizbullah says the cease-fire, following fierce combat with the IDF and the shelling of northern Israel, constituted a Divine victory for Islam.
The Hizbullah leader qualified his statements, saying that his threats were meant to prevent Israel from starting a war.
He said that the US and Israel have failed to drive sectarian wedges between Lebanese Muslims, Christians, Shiites and Sunnis.