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Netanyahu to Address Congress on May 24


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress on May 24, according to House of Representatives Republican speaker John Boehner, who announced the speech Tuesday. Boehner had invited Netanyahu to speak.

It was believed that Netanyahu planned to reveal new unilateral steps vis-à-vis the PA, similar to his 2010 plan to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria for nine months in an attempt to get the PA to the negotiating table.

Israel Braces for 'Nakba Day'


With Independence Day over, 'Nakba Day' is looming, and Israel's defense establishment is preparing for a possibly turbulent weekend as Palestinians mark what they view as the disaster inherent in Israel's establishment. The annual 'Nakba Day' will be marked on May 15th, the date of the Jewish state's inception.

Security officials have been assessing the volatile situation in the past week, and as of Wednesday the IDF will be boosting its deployment throughout Judea and Samaria. The army is preparing for various scenarios, including extreme violence, despite estimations that Palestinian security forces will aim to keep tensions low.

Several IDF regiments will be joining units already in place, in case Palestinian rallies turn violent and prompt dangerous friction with Israeli forces and settlers. "We don't want to be surprised or improvise a response at the last moment," a military official said, while expressing his hope that quiet will prevail throughout 'Nakba Day.'

Meanwhile, Israel Police officials are preparing for the possibility of Arab Israelis joining the protests and resorting to violence within the Green Line. Police officers fear that planned rallies and marches will turn into mass riots and will discuss the option of boosting police deployment over the weekend.

As opposed to previous years, the Palestinians have been calling for civil disobedience both in the West Bank and outside Israel, in states sharing a border with the Jewish state. The trend got underway with the launch of a Facebook page urging the Palestinians to embark on a third Intifada on May 15.

Elsewhere online, several groups are organizing with the aims of reaching Israel's borders. One such initiative is being organized by the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, with university students expected to depart from Cairo Friday en route to the Gaza Strip border.

Tuesday evening, some 15,000 Arab Israelis took part in a 'Nakba Day rally in the western Galilee region. The event was attended by Arab Knesset members and senior Islamic Movement figures. Participants held up Palestinian flags and signs with anti-occupation slogans. Cities within Israel's Green Line, including Kfar Saba and Petach Tikva, just north of Tel Aviv, were also declared as "occupied." The rally also endorsed the recent Hamas-Fatah unity deal.

However, it appears that there is no consensus on the Arab side, after the Islamic Movement walked out of the event because a female singer took the stage. peaking at the event, MK Ahmed Tibi said: "In 1948, ethnic cleansing was carried out through the destruction of 531 villages, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands, and the pulverizing of the Palestinian people."

Referring to the so-called Nakba Law, aimed at combating displays rejecting the Jewish state's existence, Tibi said: "This is an open wound in our heart, a narrative that is alive and kicking, and no law would change that. The Nakba Law deserves to be violated, and that's what we did."

Assad's Cousin Says an Unstable Syria is Bad for Israel


What's bad for Syrian President Bashar Assad is bad for Israel, and vice versa, the dictator's cousin told The New York Times Tuesday.

Rami Makhlouf, a wealthy tycoon, warned that instability resulting from the growing and stubborn protest movement against Assad could have severe repercussions for Israel. Many analysts have said that toppling Assad would weaken the Iranian regime and possibly reduce the nuclear threat from Tehran, but the Times interview did not mention the Islamic Republic.

"If there is no stability here, there's no way there will be stability in Israel," he told the newspaper in an interview conducted in his offices in Damascus. Makhlouf explained that he did not necessarily mean there would be war with Israel, but "nobody can guarantee what will happen after, G-d forbid, anything happens to this regime."

He also contradicted himself, saying that a new government led by Muslim radicals could result in a civil war and possibly a conflict beyond its borders. Makhlouf did not mention Lebanon, where the Damascus-Hizbullah alliance is the dominant political and military force. "We won't accept it," he said. "People will fight against them. Do you know what this means? It means catastrophe. And we have a lot of fighters."

His comments came as human rights groups report that Assad's police and army have murdered more than 700 demonstrators, including women and children, and have arrested more than 10,000 people suspected of being involved in the protest movement.

Syria's standing in the international community is being severely challenged, as demonstrated by Kuwait's willingness to be the Asian candidate for the United Navigations Human Rights Commission. Syria was the only nominee and a shoo-in until a media blackout did not prevent substantiated reports of widespread and brutal methods, including torture, to try to overcome demonstrators.

Makhlouf warned, "We will not go out, leave on our boat, go gambling, you know. We will sit here. We call it a fight until the end. They should know when we suffer, we will not suffer alone."

Assad's cousin is considered part and parcel of what dissidents say is a thoroughly corrupt regime, and the United States, which designates Syria as a country supporting terror, slapped sanctions on him three years ago.

Glenn Beck Visits Temple Mount


American conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, is in Israel and visited the Temple Mount Tuesday. Beck has been talking a great deal about Israel lately, particularly his concern that "Israel is being set up." He believes that U.S. attacks on Libya may be part of a plan to authorize future attacks against Israel.

Beck visited the Temple Mount 10 years ago. "I had done some reading but I didn't understand until I went there," Beck told on Friday and Saturday, just prior to his departure. "The Temple Mount almost pulsated. I could feel it."

The decision to go this weekend was made just a few days ahead of time. "He's working on a project," explained. "During our phone conversation, he spoke with a measured enthusiasm, indicating the project is deeply important to him and that he hoped have more information to reveal very soon.

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