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September 1, 2013 5:56 pm

Israel Waits in Limbo as U.S. Debates Syria Strike

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Capitol Hill. Photo: Wiki Commons.

JNS.org – JERUSALEM—Israelis now sit in limbo as a U.S. strike on Syria—for allegedly killing at least 1,429 of its own citizens with chemical weapons—is on hold, pending congressional approval. Congress is not set to address the issue until it reconvenes from recess on Sept. 9.

Speaking in Jerusalem on Aug. 29, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) expressed confidence that military action would ultimately be taken.

“We know there will be some response,” Reichert told JNS.org.

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Israelis, meanwhile, now must nervously wait while the U.S. decides if and when a strike will be ordered. On the one hand, a successful military strike on Syrian military targets could significantly weaken Israel’s northern neighbor, and take out what is widely believed to be one of the largest chemical weapon’s stockpiles in the world—weapons that could at some point be fired at Israel.

On the other hand, any U.S. strike could trigger a response on Israel that may send chemical weapons over the border on long-range missiles targeting Israeli population centers.  Similarly, Hezbollah in Lebanon could begin launching rockets toward Tel Aviv.

Members of the Syrian and Iranian government have already signaled that any U.S. strike will be retaliated against first and foremost by strikes on Israel.

This past week, Israelis converged on makeshift gas mask distribution centers setup across the country.

“The risks of a U.S. strike on Israel are obvious,” Reichert said.

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