Obama's recklessness could engulf the whole Middle East in war.
As U.S., allies weigh strike on Syria, nervous Israelis rush for gas masks Washington Post, August 28, 2013
NIR ELIAS/Reuters - Thousands of Israelis continued to queue up for gas masks or ordered them by phone, spurred on by fears that any Western military response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria could ensnare their own country in war.
JERUSALEM — A shortage of gas masks caused a mini-melee among panicky moms pushing strollers here Wednesday, as Israelis prepared for possible U.S. airstrikes against Syria that could trigger retaliatory attacks in Israel.
At a post office distribution center in the Hadar Mall in West Jerusalem, Israelis broke through yellow security tape and clawed into boxes containing the government-issued kits. Postal authority spokeswoman Maya Avishai described the scene as “a brutal onslaught” against law and order, and police were called to calm the crowd.The Syrian capital was unusually quiet as residents fled or stayed home at the prospect of strikes.
Jamie Schwed, mother of a newborn, was frustrated to find that all the gas masks had been distributed. “They warned us of a possible attack, and they run out of masks? It’s ridiculous,” she said.
Officials reported a surge in inquiries, deliveries and people lining up for the free kits, as the United States and its Western allies gathered support for a strike on Syria in retaliation for last week’s alleged poison gas attack outside Damascus. The Syrian government denies responsibility for the attack, which killed hundreds, including many women and children.
A U.N. weapons team is inspecting the sites, searching for definitive proof that banned chemicals were used. But the United States and its allies say information provided by intelligence services has convinced them that the government of President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons.
The Israeli government is walking a fine line, encouraging citizens to be prepared for the possibility of retaliation from Syria if it is attacked but also telling them not to panic. “There is no reason to change daily routines,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “At the same time, we are prepared for any scenario.”
The Israeli military ordered reserve troops to muster at the northern border.