Naval Forces Move Towards Syria

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Israel’s urges action against Syrian chemical weapons in response to last week’s chemical attack. The Pentagon’s boosting naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean.

According to Israeli media reports, the chemical weapons were fired by a unit commanded by Bashar Assad’s brother, Maher. There were at least 31 Palestinian chemical victims.

See Jerusalem Post analysis for what a US attack on Syria might mean for Israel.

Hamas2. The pressure’s really piling on Hamas. Egyptian authorities told the Times of Israel that Hamas is harboring wanted Al-Qaida-affiliated Sinai jihadis. The military also says it thwarted a Hamas terror attack against army facilities in the Sinai. YNet explains:

According to the report, a 15 man terror cell attempted to attack soldiers in a bid to release jailed Muslim Brotherhood activists. The group was part of a larger cell attempting to enter Egypt through the tunnels connecting Gaza to Sinai.

That would explain why Egypt re-opened the Rafah crossing to Gaza only for humanitarian cases and people holding foreign passports.

Even Mahmoud Abbas is joining the dog pile, according to the Times of Israel:

An Israel TV report on Friday said Abbas believes the timing is right for elections now, because Hamas is relatively weak, especially since the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood-led presidency of Muhammad Morsi in Egypt, while the Abbas-led PA has secured the releases of Palestinian prisoners from Israel as it moves ahead with peace negotiations.

So what can Hamas do to maintain its popularity? Whip up the West Bank, plot terror attacks, and try kidnapping Israeli soldiers, says Avi Issacharoff.

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3. The headaches from the EU’s settlement guidelines continue. YNet writes:

At least five European nations have recently began warning companies and businessmen against engaging in business activity in Israeli settlements as they risk breaking local and international law, according to reports received by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

The countries mentioned by Israeli ambassadors include Britain, Germany, Denmark, Holland and Sweden, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.


Israel and the Palestinians

Mahmoud Abbas said he’d be willing to renounce the right of return in exchange for a just solution to the conflict. How long will it take till his office denies or clarifies the statement?

“You have a commitment from the Palestinian people, and also from the leadership, that if we are offered a just agreement, we will sign a peace deal that will put an end to the conflict and to future demands from the Palestinian side,” Abbas said, according to an account of the meeting posted on the Meretz website.

We will not demand in the future to return to Jaffa, Acre or Haifa. Peace with Israel will be final and binding,” he was quoted as saying.

Benjamin Pogrund discussed the shortcomings of “Israel apartheid” analogies with South Africa’s Mail & Guardian.

The Daily Beast profiled Israel’s chief negotiator, Tzipi Livni.

Palestinian journalists to stage sit-in protesting PA security assaults. Most recently, several reporters covering a Friday demonstration in Ramallah for Mohammed Morsi were beaten up by police, who confiscated cameras and deleted footage. More at the Jerusalem Post.

For more commentary/analysis, see Jonathan Tobin and Algemeiner.

On the next page:

  • Israel retaliated for Thursday’s Lebanese rocket fire.
  • Egypt uncovers terror plot against Suez Canal.
  • “Uranium shoe guy” trying to meet Iranians busted in NY City.

Continued on page 2

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