Hezbollah Smuggling Advanced Missiles

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Today’s Top Stories

1. The Wall St. Journal (via Google News) reports that Hezbollah’s smuggling advanced guided missiles from Syria to Lebanon in piecemeal fashion to avoid Israeli airstrikes:

The movements appear to serve two purposes.

Iran wants to upgrade Hezbollah’s arsenal to deter future Israeli strikes—either on Lebanon or on Iran’s nuclear program, U.S. and Israeli officials say. In addition, these officials said they believe the transfers were meant to induce Hezbollah to commit to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as supply lines used by both his regime and Hezbollah.

2. Israel’s former ambassador to Argentina says Israel killed most of the people involved in the bombings of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and a the Jewish community’s headquarters. Israeli officials denied Itzhak Avidan’s comments.

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3. AP: Furious Prague residents want the Palestinian embassy gone after last week’s explosion killed the PLO ambassador Jamal al-Jamal. Police found illegal weapons inside the late ambassador’s residence.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that A) the ambassador’s daughter doesn’t believe her father’s death was an accident, and B) the PA can’t get its story straight:

Palestinian officials have given contradictory accounts of the explosion.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki has described the death as an “accident” caused by an old safe booby-trapped to explode if opened the wrong way. But a spokesman for the Palestinian embassy said the safe in question was new, often used, and contained “no built-in anti-theft system“.

Good thing the Czechs are investigating this. If left to their own devices, the Palestinians would bury Jamal without an autopsy, wait seven years, then let Al Jazeera dig up the body for a bogus report on polonium poisoning.

4. Hero Worship at the New York Times: “Mr. Abbas never condoned the prisoners’ crimes.” Oh really?

5. Data Apartheid in the Telegraph: An appalling example of how the false Israel “apartheid” analogy is being deployed in the least expected contexts.

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Israel and the Palestinians

• Complete this sentence in the comments section below:

If Abbas were Mother Teresa . . .

Over at The Guardian‘s Jonathan Freedland has an interesting “what-if” take on Ariel Sharon, but I have a hard time imagining this rosy view being published in the paper eight years ago. The Daily Telegraph, Times of London, and Time also looked at the shift in Sharon’s legacy.

The Vatican announced Pope Francis’s plans to visit the Holy Land. The pope will visit Amman, Jerusalem and Bethlehem over a three-day period in May. Reuters coverage.

• For more commentary/analysis, see Avi Issacharoff (Palestinian red lines),  Dan Margalit (the framework agreement), Bernard Avishai (recognizing Israel as a Jewish state), Jackson Diehl (Kerry’s peace efforts), Udi Segal (Kerry’s process), and Rex Murphy (ASA boycott).

Rest O’ the Roundup

Worth reading: Natan Sharansky shared his thoughts on democracy and the Arab Spring with the Times of Israel. Bottom line: Democratic dissidents in Iran, Egypt and Syria are feeling betrayed by American inaction.

The Washington Post picked up on an Israeli study of foreign fighters in Syria. The findings suggest Shiites outnumber Sunnis.

At what point does Al-Qaida vs. Hezbollah in Lebanon go beyond “pass the popcorn” and become a more worrisome source of instability for Israel? Alex Fishman‘s wondering.

(Image of Prague via Flickr/Jorge Gonzalez)

For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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