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Olmert: Hizbullah May Already Have Some Chemical Weapons

Former PM says that Hizbullah may already be in possession of chemical weapons given to it by the Syrian regime.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/2/2013, 3:45 AM

Olmert at the Israel Business Conference
Olmert at the Israel Business Conference
Flash 90

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday that the Hizbullah terror group may already be in possession of chemical weapons given to it by the Syrian regime – and that those weapons may have been transferred before the civil war in the country even began.

"There are all kinds of speculations," Olmert said in an interview with Channel 10 News. "I propose to leave open the question of whether such weapons have reached Hizbullah, at least in part."

The former Prime Minister added that if Israel receives intelligence about attempts to transfer chemical weapons to Hizbullah, it must act "in a specific, accurate and targeted way to prevent it." However, he argued that intervention in Syria is not a priority for Israel, adding, "There is no need to sow panic as though if Assad falls tomorrow morning, we will be under the threat of Syrian forces. That's not the case."

Responding to criticism by Israeli government officials following his speech at the Jerusalem Post Conference this week, at which he accused the Israeli government of exaggerating regarding the threat from Iran, Olmert said, "I was attacked too harshly and unnecessary, but lo and behold - even the Prime Minister himself admitted that Iran has not yet crossed the red line."

"I was very pleased to hear that one of the greatest warriors against Iran saw fit to attack me," added Olmert, referring to Minister Gilad Erdan who denounced his speech. "It would be unworthy of me to argue with people who have never in their lives had to make a decision of the kind I had to make with regards to Israel's security. I can appreciate the dangers. There was a very big exaggeration in the statements of the Israeli government, and there were also huge expenses on hallucinatory operations that thankfully weren’t carried out.”

Finally, Olmert was asked about a report in the Haaretz newspaper this week which said that he had already announced his intentions to run for Prime Minister in the next elections.

While he refused to confirm or deny the report, Olmert said, "I was told that I have already been quoted as saying I will run. I made it clear several times that I am not leaving public life. You will continue to hear me and hear from me, I promise. In due time, when there is a more explicit statement to be made, I will of course make it.”