‘Israel will stop’ threat of Syrian chemical weapons, Peres warns

President tells CNN that Israel has enough hard evidence to implicate Iran and Hezbollah in the Bulgaria terrorist attack

Ilan Ben Zion is an AFP reporter and a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israel president Shimon Peres (photo credit: Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel president Shimon Peres (photo credit: Yonathan Sindel/Flash90)

President Shimon Peres on Monday condemned Syrian government statements that it would deploy chemical weapons in the event of a foreign invasion, and said Israel would do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat these weapons pose to the Jewish state.

“Use of chemical weapons is internationally forbidden,” he said in a CNN interview with Elise Labott. “We shall not remain indifferent and tell them, ‘Do what you want.'”

Asked how far Israel was prepared to go to prevent Syrian chemical weapons from being used or transferred to terrorist organizations, Israel’s octogenarian leader replied, “Until it will stop being a danger.”

Peres and Labott also discussed the issue of the rising violence in Syria and the growing number of refugees fleeing the conflict. According to the Local Coordination Committees at least 130 Syrians were killed on Sunday, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that over 1,200 were killed in the last week.

Regarding a potential influx of refugees to Israel, Peres said that any forceful attempts by Syrians to cross Israel’s border would be met with force. Attempt to cross the border peacefully but illegally, he said, would be stopped with civilian means, “the way any country defended [sic] her border.”

Until now, he added, no Syrians fleeing from President Bashar Assad’s forces had requested asylum, “and I don’t anticipate that anyone will.”

Asked about the Burgas attack in which five Israelis were killed and dozens more were injured, Peres reiterated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accusation that Iran and Hezbollah stood behind the suspected suicide bombing. He asserted that there was enough hard evidence to implicate Iran and its proxy Hezbollah in the terrorist attack.

“It’s an open war of Iran against Israel” and more attacks are being planned against Israeli targets, Peres said.

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