PM: International Community Must Remove Chemical Weapons from Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to fulfill Security Council resolutions and stop the Assad regime and rebel groups in Syria from using chemical weapons.
“When I saw pictures of babies suffocating from a chemical attack in Syria, I was shocked and outraged. There’s no, none, no excuse whatsoever for the deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons. I call on the international community to fulfill its obligation from 2013 to fully and finally remove these horrible weapons from Syria,” said Netanyahu during a memorial ceremony for the late President Chaim Herzog at in Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.
Dozens of people, including 11 children, died Tuesday in a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhun in the Syrian province of Idlib. The region, located in the northwestern part of the country, is controlled by Syrian rebels and is believed to have been perpetrated by the Syrian army. The attack was followed by an airstrike on a medical installation where victims of the attack were being treated. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, medical sources onsite described it as a gas attack when many people started to choke or faint, and had foam coming out of their mouths, seemingly from chlorine or sarin gas.
In 2013, the UN Security Council adopted unanimously resolution 2118 determining that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constituted a threat to international peace and security, and called for the full implementation an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) resolution spelling out special procedures for the rapid and verifiable destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Closer to home, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called on Netanyahu to convene an emergency Security Cabinet session regarding the use of chemical warfare in Syria. In a statement, Bennett said the discussion should deal with the humanitarian aspect of the crisis, the security implications on the region, the meaning of chemical weapons being reintroduced and the systematic genocide being carried out in Syria.
According to the Minister, the use of chemical weapons against civilians requires Israel’s inner Security Cabinet to rethink its stance.
Meretz Chairman MK Zehava Gal-On urged the Israeli government to call on the international community to act to stop the attacks on Syrian soil and the growing use of chemical weapons. “Assad learned from the silence of the world that he has carte blanche, and he does not hesitate to use it on innocent civilians in Syria.”
Dr. Ronen Hoffman, an international relations expert and former negotiators with Syria, argued the massacre in Syria is “further proof” that former US President Obama’s policies in the Middle East have proven to be a failure. “The terrible news from the massacre in Syria marks the end of Obama’s policy in the Middle East. One of the major points credited to Obama was his activities in disarming Assad from his chemical weapons, which seems like a joke today in light of Assad using them freely,” said Hoffman.
“The news from Syria along with US President Trump’s warm embrace with Egyptian President al-Sisi, which cancels out the cold shoulder Obama was giving Egypt, completely erase the legacy of Obama and his foreign policy in the region,” Hoffman concluded.
Ilana Messika participated in this report.