Israelis were ordering preventative gas masks en masse on Sunday, as the possibility of a military intervention in Syria seemed more likely, though limited supplies mean only 60% of Israel’s seven million citizens will be able to find one, Ma’ariv reported.
According to the Israel Postal Company, its call centers have been inundated with inquiries for gas mask kits that protect the user from many of the harmful toxins used in chemical weapons, with four times the number of calls, and a three-fold increase in orders. Currently, 2,000 kits are distributed in Israel each day.
The increased concern comes as representatives of international armies were discussing a response after Syrian rebel forces fighting the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad claimed the despot used chemical weapons in an attack on a rebel stronghold, in a suburb outside of Damascus, last week.
On Sunday, Israeli media reported that the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has begun a three-day emergency meeting of defense chiefs from 10 nations in Amman, Jordan.
Also on Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres called for the removal of all chemical weapons from Syria. “The use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds of women and children and the cries of the girl begging her father to come and save her is a cry to which we cannot remain indifferent,” he said, “I can understand the problems and the doubts, but the moral call is superior to any strategic considerations. The time has come for a joint effort to remove all the chemical weapons from Syria. They cannot remain there either in the hands of Assad or of others. In addition to everything else needed to stop this massacre there must be an international attempt to take out the weapons. It is very complicated and it is very expensive but it is more dangerous and more expensive to leave it there. It must be done.”