With tensions rising on Israel’s northern frontier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Israel and the United States were exercising “very close cooperation on developing matters in Syria.”
Netanyahu’s comments, an allusion to President Bashar Assad’s sizable stockpile of chemical weapons, came during a meeting in Jerusalem with US congressmen.
“We’ve had very close cooperation on all things, including on developing matters in Syria – very close coordination between our two governments – and I think this is important for the stability of the region, for the security of Israel, and it’s much appreciated,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council said that the Israeli government has the ability to keep Syrian chemical weapons out of the hands of terror groups, and will not hesitate to use the means at its disposal to do so.
“Israel said that it will not abide the use of the chemical weapons stockpile,” Uzi Arad asserted in an interview with Army Radio. He added that it would be safe to assume the statement is backed up by operational ability.
On Sunday, Israel deployed two Iron Dome batteries in the north, at least one of them near Haifa, amid growing fears that Syrian chemical weapons may be turned against the Jewish state.
Also Sunday, Netanyahu summoned Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter for a special discussion regarding Syria’s chemical weapons and Israel’s preparedness.
Stuart Weiner and Aaron Kalman contributed to this report