Despite the verbal attacks on Syria by the United States in recent days, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon does not foresee an escalation of tensions on Israel’s northern border, as he believes that Syria fears a confrontation with Israel.
“In no way would I regard what has taken place in recent days as an escalation,” Ya’alon told Army Radio on Wednesday.
“Since Operation Defensive Shield (in April 2002), we have seen restraint by elements on the northern border, namely Hezbollah. I believe that the Syrians fear a confrontation with Israel.”
Ya’alon went on to say that the IDF would prevent the entry of peace organizations into areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip where military operations were taking place.
“I’ve given the order to remove organization activists from the area, firstly for their own good. They are needlessly endangering their own lives. But they are also creating provocation that infringes on our operations in the area.”
An American peace activist, Rachel Corrie, was killed when she was hit by an IDF bulldozer on March 16 in the Gaza Strip while protesting the demolition of buildings in the Rafah refugee camp.
Syrian foreign minister calls for Middle East to be a WMD-free zone Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara said his government was willing to sign a treaty making the entire Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, an Australian broadcaster reported on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Australian government-owned Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), Shara also vigorously denied U.S. allegations that Syria had chemical weapons or had allowed Iraq to hide banned weapons on its soil during the Iraq war.
“The Syrian government is ready to sign a treaty under UN supervision to make the whole Middle East a zone free from all mass destruction weapons, nuclear, chemical and biological,” he told SBS in an interview in Damascus.