Israel's Enemies Wouldn't Dare Launch Chemical Attack, Barak Says

Speaking during visit to Golan Heights, Defense Minister predicts Assad regime close to end, says possible fall would serve a harsh blow to Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel's enemies would not dare even to consider a chemical weapons strike against it, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday. Barak's remarks follow assessments made by a top Israel Defense Forces official that regional adversaries would consider the use of such weapons in the case of an all-out war in the Middle East.

Speaking to the Institute for National Security Studies on Monday, GOC Home Front Command Major General Eyal Eisenberg said Israel was on the brink of all-out war in the Middle East, adding that such a conflict could potentially include the use of weapons of mass destruction, cautioning that the Arab Spring could turn into the "Radical Islamic Winter".

Ehud Barak.
Moti Milrod

Referring to Eisenberg's comments, Barak, who was visiting the Golan Heights near the Israel's border with Syria, said that while Opinions have been voiced in the last 24 hours concerning the possibility of an all-out conflict in the Middle East, " he felt there was not foreseeable "reason that anyone of our adversaries would initiate an all-out war against Israel these days".

Barak also spoke of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, saying he was "convinced that our enemies wouldn't dare use chemical weapons against Israel, in the eventuality they have such [weapons], neither now nor in the future."

"They know well why they shouldn't even think of using chemical weapons against Israel," he added.

The defense minister also referred to the possibility that the Arab Spring could destabilize the region, saying that he hoped that turmoil in Syria would culminate in a continuously quiet border.

"We're here in the Golan Heights across [Quneitra] – a quiet border. On the other side of it, the Assad family is butchering its people across Syria in order to survive," Barak said, adding that he estimated "that this won't work, the Assad regime's fate has been sealed, even if it takes a few more months."

"Even if a new situation comes about, one which is very hard to predict, I hope it will be a quiet one. There's no doubt that the fall of these regime, when it takes place, would serve as a harsh blow to the entire radical front, especially Iran and Hezbollah," the defense minister said.

Finally, Barak also commented on the going diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey over Israel's refusal to apologize for a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, saying that "Israel and Turkey are the two strongest, and in many ways the two most important countries in the Middle East."

"We have our differences, and even in differences it is important that both sides use their heads and not their guts. It would be better for everyone and for stability in the region to" reconcile differences," the defense minister said.