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      MK: Syrian Chemical Weapons Not Israel’s Concern

      Labor MK says Syria’s chemical weapons are not Israel’s concern, and Israeli involvement will only aggravate the situation.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 4/28/2013, 12:49 PM

      Syrian troops take position in a heavily damaged area in Aleppo
      Syrian troops take position in a heavily damaged area in Aleppo
      AFP photo

      Israel should stop voicing concern over Syria’s chemical weapons, MK Omer Bar-Lev of the Labor party said Sunday.

      “Syria’s chemical weapons, like Syria’s internal conflict and the slaughter there, is not the direct concern of the state of Israel,” said Lev, who is also is a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

      “With all due regrets, any Israeli interference in the internal Syrian conflict could have strategic implications for our future in this region – while the internal conflict itself, practically speaking, reduces this threat,” he explained.

      He qualified his statement, saying, “This is true as long as we continue to prevent weapons that would change the current balance from reaching Hizbullah.”

      Bar-Lev noted that the international community’s choice whether or not to intervene is a separate matter. “That decision… should be made without taking Israel into account, and should be made in such a way that various parties cannot hold us responsible for action or inaction,” he said.

      Bar-Lev harshly criticized Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and Deputy Foreign Minister Zev Elkin, both of Likud, for publicly speaking of the need to act regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

      “Whoever appoints Elkin and Danon to work on sensitive matters of foreign affairs and defense on Friday should not be surprised when he is embarrassed on Saturday,” he said of Elkin’s recent warning that Iran is watching the United States to see how it will respond to Syria’s crossing of American “red lines.”

      “Elkin’s statement is an example of anti-diplomacy,” he continued. The statement “has been perceived as pushing the Americans into a corner, regarding a matter that does not directly and immediately effect Israeli interests,” he said.