Israeli officials skeptical of Russian proposal on Syrian chemical weapons

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli officials said a Russian proposal to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control gives Syria a reprieve from a retaliatory strike.

Avigdor Liberman, the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Israel Radio on Tuesday that the Russian proposal, which Syria accepted on Monday, gives Syrian President Bashar Assad “time and lots of it.”

Liberman, a former Israeli foreign minister, said Israel would retaliate if it was attacked as a result of a possible military strike by Western countries in retaliation for Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against his own citizens.

“Assad needs to understand that he and his associates will become legitimate targets if they try to drag Israel into the dispute,” he said.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said Monday that “the Syrians are not trustworthy,” according to reports.

Meanwhile, Britain, France and the United States agreed to table a resolution in the United Nations Security Council on Syria’s alleged chemical weapons use following Assad’s acceptance of the Russian proposal.