Former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer alleged Monday that Syria’s chemical weapons are “trickling” to Hizbullah, the first such claim by a senior politician in Israel.
“The process of weapon transferral to Hizbullah has begun,” he told The Associated Press, but he did not provide specifics.
Ben-Eliezer, a retired general who is now a lawmaker from the opposition Labor party, also told Israel Radio that he “has no doubt” that Syrian President Bashar Assad has already used chemical weapons and that that “these weapons are trickling to Hizbullah.”
His statements do not represent an official assessment and defense officials say that, while they are concerned about Hizbullah getting chemical weapons, they are assuming it has not yet done so.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned that militants getting chemical arms or other sophisticated weapons is a red line that could trigger military action.
Ben-Eliezer said he is “amazed by the silence of the world” and that the international community needs to intervene to end the high civilian death toll in Syria’s civil war. He said Israel should consider action if there is no international intervention.
“I wouldn’t rule out preparing a plan for Israel to act if the world continues to remain silent and the weapons continue to flow to Hizbullah. These are crazy people, terrorists who will not hesitate to use this tomorrow morning,” he said.
This week another former defense chief, Environment Minister Amir Peretz, also called for international action in Syria.
The U.S. has warned such weapons cross a red line and last week said the weapons were probably used, though it still seeks definitive proof.
Last week, Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, the head of research and analysis in Israeli military intelligence, said Assad’s soldiers had used chemical weapons against rebels. He said sarin, a lethal nerve agent, was probably used in one instance. He cited images of alleged victims of the attacks foaming at the mouth and displaying other apparent symptoms of chemical attacks as part of the evidence.
The Israeli government convened its Security Cabinet to discuss Syria on Sunday but no details were released.