Steinitz: It is ‘crystal clear’ Assad used chemical weapons on mass scale

Steinitz: It is ‘crystal clear’ Assad used chemical weapons on mass scale | JPost | Israel News.

08/26/2013 11:42
On possible Syrian retaliation against Israel in event of US attack, International Relations Minister says it would be “insane” to provoke Israel; says Israel won’t interfere in turmoil of Arab neighbors.

Yuval Steinitz

Yuval Steinitz Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

It is “crystal clear” that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons five days ago in an attack that killed hundreds of people, International Relations Minister Yuval Steintz said Monday.

Although it is true that this is not the first time Assad has used chemical weapons, Steinitz said, saying he has used them two or three times in the past, this is the first time he has used them on a mass scale.

Steinitz, speaking at a press conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Press Club, said that this was the first time chemical weapons were used on a mass scale against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them two decades ago.

Picking up on a theme Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu first spoke of publicly on Sunday, Steinitz said that “what happened in Syria should remind us how dangerous it is if Iran is able to complete its military nuclear project and produce atomic bombs.”

Steinitz said that just as the Syrians used chemical weapons against their own people, the Iranians are capable of using nuclear weapons because, like the Syrians, they have “no moral compunctions.”

While calling on the world to stop Assad, Steinitz said Israel would not interfere in the turmoil roiling the Arab world. Asked if Jerusalem was concerned about Syrian retaliation against Israel in case of an American attack, Steinitz said, “I think it will be insane for somebody to try to provoke Israel.”

“But of course we are prepared for any scenario,” he added.

Assad dismissed Western allegations that he used chemical weapons as politically motivated and warned Washington any US military intervention would fail in an interview published in a Russian newspaper on Monday.

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