Israel, in cooperation with the US and others in the international community, is preparing itself for the possibility of far reaching changes in the Syrian regime, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
PM: Israel preparing for far-reaching changes in Syria
Netanyahu, speaking at the outset of the weekly cabinet meeting, said those changes could have "implications" for the "sensitive weapons systems there."
Israel has in recent weeks expressed its serious concern about how changes in Syria will impact upon Damascus\’ huge stockpile of chemical weapons.
Netanyahu told the cabinet there are "dramatic developments" in Syria now "about every day."
Turning toward developments in the West Bank, Netanyahu said there has been an increase in disturbances there in the form of attacks on IDF forces.
"Later today, we will visit IDF Central Command in order to closely monitor developments as well as the necessary steps to deal with each possible scenario," he said.
During the meeting, the cabinet unanimously approved a supplemental allocation of NIS 9.5 million to assist those in the south – particularly the elderly and immigrants – impacted by last month\’s Gaza operation.
Netanyahu said that various needs in communities in the south that resulted from Operation Pillar of Defense will be dealt with through the additional grants.
Netanyahu\’s comments followed a report in The Sunday Times that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal instructed the terror group\’s sleeper cells in the West Bank to prepare themselves for armed struggle to take control of the Palestinian territory.
According to the report, citing the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Aman military intelligence service, Hamas, at the behest of Iran, was preparing to seize power in the West Bank as it did in Gaza in a 2007 civil war.
The Sunday Times claimed that Netanyahu had been warned by Israeli intelligence services of Hamas\’s possible usurpation of power, and quoted what it described as a close Netanyahu associate as saying: “Bibi [Netanyahu] understands the geopolitical changes in the Middle East. No way would [he] give up an inch of the West Bank – he is convinced that the intelligence assessment about a Muslim Brotherhood [Hamas] takeover is solid.”