Strong words were spoken by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations during a Security Council meeting about the Middle East today.
While speaking about the deadly violence in Syria, Ron Prosor tabled a warning to the Syrian government and its president, Bashar al-Assad.
“Israel has shown maximum restraint and has no intention of interfering in the Syrian conflict. But we will not allow our citizens to be the on-going victims of attacks. If provocations by the Syrian government continue, Israel will have no choice but to respond accordingly. The situation on Israel’s northern border is precarious. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Assad has chemical weapons and he has proven that he is willing to do anything to cling to power. The situation is made all the more dangerous by the fact that Assad has received advanced weapons systems that Israel simply cannot allow. We cannot allow these weapons of this nature to fall into the hands of terrorist groups like Hezbollah,” he said.
Syrian rebels have been fighting to oust Assad for more than two years. The United Nations says as many as 100,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war.
The comments were made during the Security Council’s monthly meeting about the Middle East. Also discussed during the meeting was the on-going conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
During the meeting, Prosor said, “Direct negotiations and only direct negotiations are the only way forward.”
Palestinian United Nations Observer Riyad Mansour again called for a two-state solution.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, winding up months of intensive mediation, has been trying to arrange a meeting between the two sides aimed at resuming negotiations stalled since 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlement building on land Palestinians seek for a state.
Palestinians said negotiations could not begin unless it was clear in advance that they would be about a future state based on pre-1967 borders, while an Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would seek the approval of his cabinet before going ahead.