RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Israel must provide Palestinians living in the occupied territories with gas masks, a Palestinian official has said, in the event of a spillover of violence from Syria.
Israel has been distributing gas masks to its citizens over the last two weeks amid fears of reprisals against the Jewish state, following anticipated U.S. military intervention in neighboring Syria.
“If there is any war in the region, the responsibility [for ensuring Palestinians civilians are prepared] falls upon Israel, because it is the occupying authority,” Palestinian Authority security services spokesman Adnan al-Dumayri told AFP on Tuesday. “Israel must provide to all citizens living under its occupation the necessary security equipment, be that gas masks or other items, especially if Israel gets into a war we have no connection with.”
“We are living under occupation, we have no sovereignty over our borders (in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), and we can’t import gas masks,” Dumayri said.
Israelis last week scrambled to collect gas masks provided by the state, queueing up sometimes for hours at distribution centers — mostly post offices — across the country.
Palestinians living in the occupied territories have not received any such safety equipment.
The U.S. is mulling military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21.