Palestinian Authority Demands Israel Provide it with Gas Masks
A Palestinian Authority official has demanded that Israel provide civilians living in PA-controlled areas with gas masks in the event of a spillover of violence from Syria.
Israel has been distributing gas masks to its citizens over the last two weeks amid fears of reprisals against the Jewish state, following anticipated US military intervention in neighboring Syria.
Syrian officials have repeatedly declared that in the event of a western-led intervention against the regime, they would respond by attacking Israel.
"If there is any war in the region, the responsibility (for ensuring that the Palestinian Authority's constituents are prepared) falls upon Israel, because it is the occupying authority," Palestinian Authority security services spokesman Adnan al-Dumayri told AFP on Tuesday.
"Israel must provide to all citizens living under its occupation the necessary security equipment, be that gas masks or other items, especially if Israel gets into a war we have no connection with," he said.
Israelis last week scrambled to collect gas masks provided by the state, queuing up sometimes for hours at distribution centers - mostly post offices - across the country.
Arabs living under Palestinian Authority rule have not received any such safety equipment, a situation al-Dumayri blamed on Israel.
"We are living under occupation, we have no sovereignty over our borders [sic. referring to Judea, Samaria and the Gaza - ed], and we can't import gas masks," he claimed.
The basis for his claim that the PA is prevented from obtaining gas masks is unclear.
PA-controlled regions are the world's highest recipients of international aid per capita, and under the terms of the Oslo agreements, the PA leadership has full responsibility over providing for the people it governs. In Gaza as well, Hamas authorities have overseen the import of countless goods to the territory, including those banned by the Israeli blockade - from luxury cars to advanced weaponry.
The US is mulling military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21.