Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday tied reports of a mass chemical attack in Syria to “Iran, and Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah,” who, he said, “are there on the ground playing an active role assisting Syria.”
“Assad’s regime has become a full Iranian client” said Netanyahu, and “Syria has become Iran’s testing ground” to assess “the reaction on the use of chemical weapons.”
Netanyahu also asserted that the tragedy in Syria was but a taste of what could come to pass if Iran was allowed to acquire even more deadly weapons. “This demonstrates, yet again, that we simply cannot allow the world’s most dangerous regimes to acquire the world’s most dangerous weapons. In the end, the extremists use these weapons. So we must prevent them from having these weapons,” he said, “I speak here of course in the context of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran must not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. What is happening in Syria, simply demonstrates what will happen if Iran gets even deadlier weapons.”
“What we see in Syria is how extremist regimes have no reservations whatsoever about using these weapons even when they use it against innocent civilians, against their own people,” said Netanyahu.
At the start of a meeting with France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is also Israel’s acting Foreign Minister, said: “I know that France shares our interest in the ongoing events in Syria that are tragic. I think what is going on there is a crime committed by the Syrian regime against its own people. It’s truly shocking. And these atrocities must stop.”
Netanyahu’s comments came amid increased concern in the region as representatives of international armies meet in Jordan to discuss a response after Syrian rebel forces claimed that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack on a rebel stronghold, in a suburb outside of Damascus, last week.
Netanyahu also addressed the general ongoing turmoil in the Arab world, and asserted that despite the belief of some, the Israeli-Arab conflict is not at the core of regional unrest. “For too long people believed that the root cause of this instability in the Middle East was the Palestinian-Israeli problem. It is not the root cause; it’s one of its results,” he said, “If we have peace with the Palestinians, the centrifuges will not stop spinning in Iran, the turmoil will not stop in Syria, the instability in North Africa will not cease, the attacks on the West will not cease.”
“We want peace for its own sake,” Netanyahu continued addressing the ongoing talks between his government and the Palestinian Authority. But, the Prime Minister warned, “this will not put an end to the region’s problems. They are far too deep, they are far too many, they require much more complex solutions, but they require solutions.”