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Israeli Defense Minister: "Assad is a butcher and should be removed"

Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke today at Limmud FSU conference in Eilat

EILAT, Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at the opening of the Limmud FSU conference in Eilat today that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is a “butcher” who “should be removed from power.”

Asked about the massacre of more than 500,000 people in the Syrian civil war and the recent siege on Aleppo, Lieberman said: “Assad is a butcher, who has slaughtered and murdered hundreds of thousands of people, including by using chemical weapons. In my opinion, he should be removed from power – and we should block Iranian involvement in Syria,” said Lieberman.

When asked if Israel should get involved in Syria, Lieberman said: “Where is the international community? It's a shame that instead of focusing on the very unfortunate fact that 500 people are killed in the Middle East every day, the international community would rather criticize Israel for every new balcony built on a settlement.”

Lieberman also addressed the peace process, saying: “Any peace agreement should be based on populated-area exchange, which should also include Israeli Arabs who consider themselves to be Palestinian.”

“Territory transfers have worked successfully throughout history, and the principle conforms with international law,” he added.



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A bomb exploded in the northern Golan Heights, near the border fence. Four soldiers were injured in the blast, one of them critically

Following the terrorist attack on the border: the IDF attacked military installations in Syria and Syrian security officials who helped with the attack.

Last week, a bomb was detonated at an IDF force on the Lebanese border. No casualties were reported in the incident.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon published in the morning a message following the Israeli attack on Syrian territory, in which he wrote: "We will not tolerate any violation of our sovereignty and harm our soldiers and our citizens, and will respond with determination and strength to all who will work against us, any time and anywhere, as we did tonight," . According to Ya'alon, "anyone attempting to harm us - the blood in his head., We also see the Assad regime responsible for what is happening in its territory, and if he will continue to cooperate with terrorists who seek to harm the State of Israel we will collect from him heavy price in a way that will make him regret his actions."
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PM Netanyahu: "The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.

Israel Headlines - PM Netanyahu: "The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength.

There is no reason to change daily routines. The IDF is ready to defend against any threat and to respond strongly against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens".

Israel Cabinet Approved: a thousand reserve soldiers will be recruited to the Air Force and the Home Front Command.
As part of the Cabinet decision thousands of soldiers will be recruited and Iron Dome batteries will be deployed in the north.

Preparations for a possible attacks on Israrl from Syria, Senior military official said that the Cabinet has approved the to recruit thousands of reservists for the Home Front Command, Air Force, intelligence and headquarters. The source added that if the United States attacks Syria, Israel may change the level of preparedness in the army and accordingly will be recruited more reservists. Currently, no change in the alert level, but Northern Command units and units in charge of protecting Israeli home front will remain on alert. The Senior official stressed that the likelihood that the Syrian army would launch missiles at Israel "is not high, even low." However, he added that during the meeting, also attended by Chief of Staff - Gen. Benny Gantz and senior defense, it was also decided to reinforce the Iron Dome batteries in the northern arena. Now, according to the senior official, there are no plans to open extra distribution points for Chemical Protection Kits.

Meanwhile, United States formed a coalition attack against Syria including some Arab countries. Estimated that Americans apparently waiting for the UN inspectors in Syria. However, it is important to remember that the United States is limited to the opening date of the operation due to the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Russia next week. Senior official admitted that Israel has not yet received a formal assurance from the United States for the a period of time which Israel will receive a warning before the beginning of the operation, Israel may receive warnings just few hours before the attack.


At the end of the Cabinet meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The IDF prepared to defend against any threat, and prepared to respond with force to any attempt to harm Israeli citizens." The Cabinet Meeting, held in the Kirya in Tel Aviv, the ministers presented scenarios that Syrian President will take if attacked, when some of the scenarios were also the possibility that the Syrian president chooses to attack Israel.

"Further security evaluations took place today, there is no reason to change the routine of life. Meanwhile, we are preparing for any scenario," added the Prime Minister.

A political source in Jerusalem said that Israel believes Assad will not try to drag Israel into war. However, he added, "We are preparing for this possibility, although it is unlikely, We must be prepared for any scenario." He added that it is assumed that the West will not try to topple the Assad Regime, and that so far have not clarified the scope of the anticipated attack.

Earlier today the Israel Air Force increased the intelligence-gathering effort over Lebanon.

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Israel Headlines: Israel Air Force has increased flights over Lebanon; Israel Cabinet convened

Israel's Ministers were presented with a number of scenarios, some of which include possible Syrian attack Israel in response to the operation of the West. IDF continues preparations: the last hours accelerated border intelligence gathering meeting



In the background of the preparations to attack Syria by the West, Israel Air Force has increased today (Wednesday) the intelligence collection effort over Lebanon. According to reports in the last hours, IDF planes flying the skies of the borders with Syria and Lebanon. Similarly, the Political - Security meets this morning to receive updates for a possible attack Syria.

During the meeting, the ministers were presented with number of scenarios which Assad will take if attacked, when some of the scenarios also deal with the possibility that the Syrian president chooses to attack Israel. A political source in Jerusalem said that Israel believes Assad will not try to drag Israel into war. However, he added, "We are preparing for this possibility, although it is less likely, We must be prepared for any scenario." He added that it is assumed that the West will not try to topple the Assad regime, and that so far it was not clarified the scope of the anticipated attack.
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Hezbollah Involvement in Syria Sparks Concern

 

Hezbollah has had a major impact on the Syrian civil war since the end of May when Nasrallah declared the movement would redouble its support of Assad

Jamie Dettmer


BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON — Lebanon's Shia Muslim movement Hezbollah is known for its discipline, but the decision to fight in the Syrian civil war has prompted doubts among some supporters.

Enter any Shi'ite town in the Beka'a Valley or in southern Lebanon and you know instantly you're in Hezbollah territory. Hezbollah's yellow flag with the green logo of the Shia party flutters from lampposts and minarets. Photographs of the movement's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, are liberally displayed.

So too are an increasing number of photographs of recent Hezbollah "martyrs" - Shi'ite militiamen who have fallen in Syria battling rebels while fighting to save the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

These deaths are prompting some rare behind-the-scenes questioning by Hezbollah families of the wisdom of fighting fellow Muslims, even if they are mainly Sunnis. For them the real enemy is Israel, the foe the movement was founded for in 1982 to confront.

"I have heard many people say, if our son was killed defending south Lebanon against Israeli attack, any attack, we must be very proud but our son was killed in Syria, why?" said retired Lebanese army general Hisham Jaber, a Shi'ite from south Lebanon who has attended funerals of Hezbollah's dead.

Hezbollah has had a major impact on the Syrian civil war since the end of May when Nasrallah declared the movement would redouble its support of Assad.

Nasrallah argued that an end to the Assad regime would serve American and Israeli interests. Shortly after, Hezbollah helped Assad to a major victory by joining the assault on the strategic border town of Qusair, retaking it from Syrian rebels who had held it for more than a year.

One Shi'ite sheikh who declined to be identified said some Hezbollah militiamen sought his counsel on whether they should heed Nasrallah's call to arms.

Among their worries was that by fighting in Syria, Hezbollah would ignite a sectarian civil war in Lebanon. It's a worry shared by many in Lebanon.

"The vast majority of Sunnis in Lebanon don't want to get caught up in a Sunni-Shia civil war and I think the same holds for Hezbollah," said author and commentator Michael Young. "Such a war would be terrible. It would be extremely bloody for, I think, very little advantage for either side."

The Beka'a Valley borders Syria and many families here are related to Syrian Shia Muslims, but Shi'ites in southern Lebanon still harbor reservations about the decision to fight in Syria.

"The family relationship between El Bekka and Syria is different than south Lebanon," said Jaber, the retired general. "People of south Lebanon have nothing to do in Syria."

Many Shi'ite intellectuals are quietly critical. The Shi'ite managing editor of a life-style magazine says she used to respect Hezbollah but now fears its intervention will exacerbate Lebanese divisions and bring the Syrian war to Lebanon.

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