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Israel Will Protect Itself From Syria's Chemical Weapons

Will Israel have to protect itself from Syria's chemical weapons? If so, the Jewish State will do what it must, Pres. Shimon Peres said.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 7/24/2012, 12:04 AM

IDF patrols northern border
IDF patrols northern border
Reuters

Will Israel have to protect itself from Syria's chemical weapons? If so, the Jewish State will do what it must, according to President Shimon Peres.

The president told the CNN news network in an interview Monday, “The use of chemical weapons is internationally forbidden. What do you do when someone violates the law? You fight against them. You stop them.

"The Syrians must be aware that what they do is against international law and endangering here our lives, so we shall not remain indifferent and tell them, 'do what you want.'”

As in Sunday's Fox News interview with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, CNN's host attempted to find out how and when Israel might decide to act against the Syrian threat.

And as had Netanyahu, Peres adroitly blocked the question, commenting, “I think Israel is quite experienced in discovering dangers ahead of time... our eyes are sharp and alert, and I'm sure that we shall know ahead of time.”

In Netanyahu in Sunday's conversation with U.S.-based Fox News, the prime minister was blunt in responding that although Israel would not “seek action,” neither would it back away from having to do what it must to protect its citizens if necessary.

“We certainly don't want to be exposed to chemical weapons falling in the hands of Hizbullah or other terror groups because that's something that we can't be indifferent to,” Netanyahu said.

“It's a great threat. We'll have to consider our action. But do I seek action? No. Do I preclude it? No.”

At a news briefing Monday in Washington, however, Pentagon press secretary George Little was far more blunt. Speaking for the government, Little warned Syria not to “even consider using chemical weapons” after Damascus threatened to employ its unconventional arms.

"They should not think one iota about using chemical weapons,” Little told reporters. The remark came after Syria admitted having chemical weapons, and having said it would use them if attacked, although not against its own citizens.

Israeli armored personnel carriers (APC) have been driving along the northern border with Syria near the Druze village of Buqata in the Golan Heights. One of the biggest threats to Israel from the Syrian civil war is the likely collapse of the Damascus government, and the possibility that its arsenal of chemical weapons and missiles could fall into the hands of the Lebanese Hizbullah terrorist organization, Netanyahu warned.