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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.

PM Netanyahu meets with French FM Fabius

For too long people believed that the root cause of instability in the Middle East was the Palestinian-Israeli problem. It is not the root cause; it’s one of its results of the regional turmoil. If we have peace with the Palestinians, the centrifuges will not stop spinning in Iran, the turmoil will not stop in Syria, the instability in North Africa will not cease, the attacks on the West will not cease.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and said at the start of the meeting:

"I know that France shares our interest in the ongoing events in Syria that are tragic. I think what is going on there is a crime committed by the Syrian regime against its own people. It’s truly shocking. And these atrocities must stop.

I have to say, however, that Assad’s regime is not acting alone. Iran, and Iran's proxy, Hezbollah, are there on the ground playing an active role assisting Syria.

In fact, Assad's regime has become a full Iranian client and Syria has become Iran's testing ground. Now the whole world is watching. Iran is watching and it wants to see what would be the reaction on the use of chemical weapons.

What we see in Syria is how extremist regimes have no reservations whatsoever about using these weapons even when they use it against innocent civilians, against their own people. This demonstrates, yet again, that we simply cannot allow the world's most dangerous regimes to acquire the world's most dangerous weapons. In the end, the extremists use these weapons. So we must prevent them from having these weapons.

I speak here of course in the context of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran must not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. What is happening in Syria, simply demonstrates what will happen if Iran gets even deadlier weapons.

I think the situation in Syria also exposes another truth, and that is that there is something very deep and very broad in the turmoil in the Middle East. We see the entire region from Morocco to Afghanistan in turmoil, in convulsion, in instability. And that’s an endemic instability that is not rooted in this or that conflict but in the rejection of modernity, in the rejection of moderation, in the rejection of progress, in the rejection of political solutions.

This is in fact the core of the problem in the Middle East. It’s something that threatens everyone, threatens moderate regimes, threatens Israel, threatens the West and threatens all those who don’t believe in the doctrinaire dogmas that guide the extremists.

I say that because for too long people believed that the root cause of this instability in the Middle East was the Palestinian-Israeli problem. It is not the root cause; it’s one of its results. It’s one of the results of the regional turmoil, and in fact it is merely a manifestation of one of its many problems.

If we have peace with the Palestinians, the centrifuges will not stop spinning in Iran, the turmoil will not stop in Syria, the instability in North Africa will not cease, the attacks on the West will not cease.

We want peace for its own sake. We want peace because we want peace with our Palestinian neighbors, because we want to live in peace, and anybody who’s been at war know the consequences of not having peace. But this will not put an end to the region’s problems. They are far too deep, they are far too many, they require much more complex solutions, but they require solutions.

This is something that I would like to talk to you, about all these things: our pursuit of peace with the Palestinians, the situation in Syria, the rampant instability in the region and above all, a goal we share closely – that is how to make sure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. All these and many others, I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to discuss so welcome to Jerusalem."

Ambassador Ron Prosor to UNSC on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Bashar al-Assad’s murderous campaign against the Syrian people have been made possible by the backing Assad receives from Hezbollah. And for those who thought that Rouhani’s election would be the dawn of a new Iran – take note. After taking office, the new president wasted no time expressing his support for Assad. 

Madame President,

Let me begin by congratulating you and the delegation of Argentina for your leadership of the Security Council this month.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the Baghdad headquarters of the UN Assistant Mission in Iraq that claimed the lives of 22 people including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Instead of defending victims of armed conflict, humanitarian personnel are themselves becoming the victims. In light of the recent attacks on UN personnel in Darfur, the DRC, and South Sudan, we must show zero tolerance to those who deliberately target UN and humanitarian workers.

Madame President,

Civilians continue to make up the vast majority of casualties in armed conflict. Human suffering anywhere should be the concern of men and women everywhere, but the responsibility rests with the international community.

Nobel laureate and humanitarian activist, Elie Wiesel said (and I quote), “Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.”

Today, men and women are being persecuted in every corner of the world. The risk of mass killing has risen sharply in Libya and Mali and the threat to civilians remains critical in the Central African Republic, Somalia and the DRC.

But nowhere is the situation bleaker than in the Middle East - where nations gained their independence long ago, but many people did not.

After years of stifling repression and brutal oppression, the people of the Middle East said enough is enough. Millions have poured into the streets from Benghazi to Beirut and from Tehran to Tunis. They have raised their voices for liberty, for democracy, and for opportunity.

Madame President,

By far, the worst instance has been Bashar al-Assad’s murderous campaign against the Syrian people. Day after day there are reports of detentions and disappearances; of soldiers ordered to fire on civilians; and of people being kidnapped, beaten and tortured. From Hama to Houla and from Deraa to Damascus, innocent people are being slaughtered.

In its June report, the UN’s commission of inquiry investigating the hostilities in Syria said (and I quote), “Crimes that shock the conscience have become a daily reality. Humanity has been the casualty of this war.”

The atrocities in Syria have been made possible by the backing Assad receives from Hezbollah. For months, Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah denied Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Today, the whole world knows that his guerillas are openly battling their fellow Arab Muslims in Syria and threatening to tip the fragile sectarian balance.

Nasrallah has repeatedly vowed to keep the murderous Assad regime in power. This past Friday he personally committed himself to fighting in Syria if necessary, saying (and I quote), “If the battle requires me to go ... I will go.” Nasrallah has proven that he has no regard for the lives that have been lost, for the people who have been forced to flee, or for the untold suffering of the Syrian people.

This same disregard for human life is clear in Lebanon where Hezbollah’s arsenal has become larger than that of many NATO countries. And Hezbollah sees fit to store these weapons in homes, schools, and hospitals. It would seem that the people of Lebanon are more valuable to Hezbollah as human shields than as human beings. Hezbollah is a ruthless terrorist group committing double war crimes by operating within civilian populations, directing attacks against civilian populations.

Madame President,

Before proclaiming his support for the Assad regime, Nasrallah travelled to Iran to secure financial and military backing from Ayatollah Khamenei. We must not forget that the first nonviolent protests were in the streets of Tehran – and the Iranian government’s response was to torture, detain and even kill peaceful protesters. These Iranian protestors were human rights activists, former government officials, clerics, students, professors, journalists, and bloggers.

For those who thought that Rouhani’s election would be the dawn of a new Iran – take note. After taking office, the new president wasted no time expressing his support for Assad.

Madame President,

Jewish tradition implores us to raise our eyes to see the needs of all humanity. As one of Judaism’s greatest contemporary scholars and teachers, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, wrote, “We have always considered ourselves an inseparable part of humanity…ever ready to accept…the responsibility implicit in human existence.”

As a family of nations, our responsibility to one another stems from our common humanity. Our moral imperatives supersede whatever politics, religion or geography may divide us. From the deserts of Africa to the jungles of South America, we must stand together to ensure people everywhere have freedom, opportunity and dignity.

Thank you, Madame President.


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.


Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta Lands in Israel and Will Meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu


Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, landed in Israel and was welcomed at Ben-Gurion International Airport by Minister Yuval Steinitz. Tomorrow he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Italian Prime Minister Letta has been in office since 28 April 2013; this is his first visit to Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Italian counterpart will discuss strengthening bilateral relations including economic cooperation, the need to stop the Iranian nuclear program, the unstable situation in Syria and the need to advance the peace process with the Palestinians.

Italy is Israel's second most important research and development partner in Europe after Germany. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Italian Prime Minister Letta will also discuss ways to expand cooperation in research and development, initiatives, and innovation. A date is also expected to be fixed for the fourth meeting between the Israeli and Italian governments, which is due to take place in Italy at the end of the year.

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