PM: Israel may have to act to keep Syrian chemical weapons out of wrong hands

Netanyahu tells Fox News that Israel cannot allow deadly materiel to fall into Hezbollah’s grasp

Illustrative photo of a chemical weapons stockpile (photo credit: CC BY-jenspie3/Flickr)
Illustrative photo of a chemical weapons stockpile (photo credit: CC BY-jenspie3/Flickr)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted Sunday that Israel might have to act to keep chemical weapons in Syria from ending up in the hands of terrorists, but said he hopes it does not come to that.

Speaking to Fox News, Netanyahu said that Syrian President Bashar Assad was on his way out and he was concerned with where the regime’s stockpile of non-conventional weapons would end up.

“This is something we’ll have to act to stop if the need arises and the need might arise if there’s a regime collapse but not a regime change – that is you go into some chaos and all these sundry sites are left unguarded,” he said, adding that no peaceable country would accept a chemically armed Hezbollah at its doorstep.

“Do I seek action? No. Do I preclude it? No,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister said the transition period after Assad’s fall would be critical.

“I am more concerned with the seam line of what could happen to those stocks of chemical weapons and those deadly rockets and missiles when there is no government in Syria. That’s my principle concern,” he said.

When asked about the possibility of Israel seizing Syria’s chemical weapons, he said, “We hope we don’t have to. We didn’t necessarily consider seizing those weapons. There are other possibilities.”

With what he called “rock solid intelligence” that Hezbollah and Iran are behind the recent attack in Bulgaria, Netanyahu said “it’s time for all countries to point the finger at the country behind these attacks and the group that helps them, and that’s Iran with Iran’s proxy Hezbollah.”

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