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Netanyahu: Israel Prepared to Deal with Syrian Chemical Weapons

By VOA News & Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his country is prepared to act to neutralize the threat posed by Syrian weapons of mass destruction in a post-Assad era. The prime minister was interviewed by two U.S. television networks. Netanyahu said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's days are numbered. "I think the [Syrian] regime will go. I do not know if it is days or weeks or months, but I do not think it is sustainable."

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the prime minister said he worries chaos in Syria could allow chemical weapons to fall into the hands of sworn enemies of Israel. "Can you imagine Hizbullah - the people who are conducting, with Iran, all these terror attacks around the world - can you imagine that they would have chemical weapons? It would be like al-Qaeda having chemical weapons. It is something that is not acceptable to us."

Netanyahu declined to specify what Israel might or might not do. "Do I seek action? No. Do I preclude it? No," he said. The Israeli prime minister repeated his contention that Hizbullah, backed by Iran, was responsible for last week's suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and wounded several others. Hizbullah has not commented on the incident. Iran has denied the allegation and says it condemns all terrorist acts.

Appearing on another U.S. television program, CBS' Face the Nation, Netanyahu declined to comment on news reports quoting Israeli officials as saying they are working with British intelligence to prevent possible terrorist attacks at the London Olympics. Forty years ago, 11 Israeli athletes were killed at the Olympic Games in Munich.

US Senator John McCain said that in addition to the Israeli concerns, there was a risk that the Syrian government might use chemical weapons against its opponents. "These are helicopter gunships, tanks, artillery that are slaughtering people, and now there is a risk - and I'm not saying it is going to happen - a risk that in his desperation, Bashar al-Assad might use those chemical weapons," McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said on CNN ' s "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday that Israel would consider taking military action if needed to ensure Syrian missiles or chemical weapons do not reach Hizbullah.

Hizbullah, which in the past has received military and financial support from Syria and Iran, launched thousands of mainly short-range rockets into Israel during the Jewish state's 2006 offensive in southern Lebanon.

Netanyahu reiterated Israeli charges that Hizbullah and Iran were behind a suicide bombing in Bulgaria last week that killed five Israeli tourists. Iran has denied any involvement. "I know based on absolutely rock-solid intelligence that this is Hizbullah and this is something that Iran knows about very, very well," the prime minister said.

Asked if he could give any hard evidence linking Wednesday's bombing at Bulgaria's Burgas airport with Hizbullah, Netanyahu said his government would share its intelligence with "friendly agencies."

Netanyahu said negotiations by the United States and other world powers with Tehran over its nuclear program had failed to slow down uranium enrichment in Iran one bit. "Since the previous round of talks, they've enriched material for five nuclear bombs," said Netanyahu, whose country is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons. He said while he agreed with the principles put forth by President Barack Obama in dealing with Iran's nuclear program, "the real question is not stated policy but actual results on the ground."


Israel: Syrian Forces Crossed into Our Territory

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel planned to file a complaint against Syria Monday in the United Nations, alleging that Syrian forces crossed the border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights last week.

Israel's Deputy UN Ambassador, Haim Waxman, sent a letter to the UN Security Council Secretary General, in which he said that during fighting Thursday between the Syrian Army and rebel forces at Jubta al-Hasheb, Syrian forces crossed the 1974 Armistice Line. Waxman noted that the event is a serious breach of the armistice agreement, which could have far reaching ramifications for security and stability in the region.

Voice of Israel radio reported that the commander of the UN's peacekeeping force along the Israeli-Syrian border confirmed Israel's claims and said that Syria had indeed seriously breached the armistice accord. The UN peacekeeping force has requested clarifications from the Syrian regime, he said.


Terrorists Fire on IDF Bus from Egypt; No Injuries

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Terrorists hiding behind sand dunes fired on a bus filled with soldiers at the border near Eilat Sunday afternoon. The bus was damaged.

The attack occurred several hours after another explosion on the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline. The two incidents are not necessarily connected but underscore the ability of Muslim terrorists to operate freely in the Sinai Peninsula. The shooting attack occurred in the area of Ein Netafim, adjacent to the Egyptian-Israeli border.

A high alert was raised by the IDF, which immediately deployed other soldiers to comb the area for other terrorists. It was the third security incident in five weeks at the increasingly volatile border. Israeli security forces less than two weeks ago shot and killed one suspected terrorist and wounded another who had crossed the border fence from Sinai into Israel.

Last month, terrorists attacked an Israeli construction team working on the fence, killing one man. Last year, nine Israelis died in a multi-pronged terrorist attack on a bus traveling on the highway 10, between Eilat and the Ovdat air base and terminal in the western Negev. The IDF has alternately closed and opened the road.


Hamas May Declare Gaza Independent Country

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Hamas is banking on Egyptian support to declare Gaza an independent state and "a liberated part of the '67 territories," the London-based Al Hayat Arab language paper reported Sunday. Hamas has been tossing around the idea for two years, but Egypt has rejected the move.

The new Muslim Brotherhood government has given the Hamas terrorist party new hope, and a senior Hamas official told Al Hayat that the subject will be discussed in meetings with newly elected Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi this Thursday. "Relations with Egypt are based on common needs, " the source said, explaining that Hamas wants to cut off its crossings with Israel and develop a trade route with Egypt through Rafiah. Hamas is telling Egypt it can provide security to secure its northern Sinai border.

Rafiah is Gaza's most southern city and straddles both sides of the Egyptian-Gazan border and also is a major point of smuggling of arms, drugs and women.

Announcing Gaza as an independent entity could hamper relations between Egypt and the United States, which has labeled Hamas as an illegal terrorist organization. It also would be a major blow to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, which has refused to negotiate without pre-conditions with Israel to obtain recognition. Instead of promoting a "two-state" solution, it would create a de facto situation of two countries – Israel and Gaza – and an increasing fractured Palestinian Authority entity.

The British-based Gadstone Institute recently observed, "Everyone who is anyone has declared for a two-state solution: Israel and Palestine. …And almost everyone argues that the only alternative would be a one-state solution. "Hardly anybody wants to know that three states have emerged, de facto, in the area: Israel, West Bank and Gaza."


Warsaw Marks Nazis' 1942 Jewish Ghetto Deportation

By Agence France Presse

Poland on Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of the start of Nazi Germany's mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the death camp of Treblinka, one of the darkest episodes of the Holocaust.

Several thousand people took part in a memorial march in the Polish capital to pay tribute to the victims of an operation launched on July 22, 1942 that was to claim the lives of 260,000 members of Warsaw's Jewish community. "It's a date as important as the start of the ghetto uprising on April 19, 1943. It's a date for remembering those who were sent to their deaths, almost the entire Jewish population of the city," Andrzej Zozula, a senior Jewish community leader, told AFP.

Alongside Polish and Israeli officials were ordinary Warsaw residents. "We have a duty to be here so that no-one forgets. The generation that survived the war is passing, so it's up to up to remember what happened," said Krystyna Bratkowska, a publisher.

Earlier Sunday, officials unveiled a somber exhibition of unpublished period drawings of life behind the ghetto's walls, including Germans rounding up Jews, a man pulling his wife's dead body on a handcart, and a 10-year-old surrounded by guards. Placed among the drawings was a 140-gram (five-ounce) hunk of black bread -- the daily ration in the ghetto.

Pre-war Poland was a Jewish heartland, with a centuries-old community numbering some 3.2 million, or around 10% of the country's population. Polish Jews made up half of the Holocaust's six million victims.

After invading in September 1939, Nazi Germany moved to isolate Jews in ghettos before beginning systematic killing. Warsaw's 400,000-strong Jewish community was already the largest in pre-war Europe, and the ghetto's population rose to half a million as the Nazis forced in Jews from other towns.

In November 1940 they walled off a four-square-kilometer (1.5 square miles) area of the city, mostly around its traditional Jewish quarter. About 100,000 people were to die inside from starvation, disease or summary execution, with exploitation in the Nazis' war economy one of the few ways to survive.

On July 22, 1942 the Nazis ordered ghetto dwellers without special work permits to assemble at the "Umschlagplatz" rail-head, on pain of being shot. From there, they were sent in trains to Treblinka, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of the capital.

Commemoration organizers paid particular tribute to pediatrician and children's rights campaigner Janusz Korczak and the 200 children from his ghetto orphanage. In a highly-symbolic move, a march retraced the route of Korczak and his young charges in reverse from "Umschlagplatz" (transfer site) to the orphanage that now bears his name. "The fact that we're treading this route backwards is a symbol of the hope that what took place here will never happen again," said Mateusz Majman, 25.

The deportation was part of "Operation Reinhardt", launched in October 1941 to empty the ghettos of occupied Poland. Over two years it claimed two million lives, in Treblinka as well as Belzec, Sobibor and Majdanek. When the three-month Warsaw operation was complete, the ghetto was reduced to a rump of less than one square kilometer (half a square mile), with a registered 35,000 Jews and 25,000 others in hiding. On April 19, 1943, as the Germans moved to kill those who remained, hundreds of poorly-armed Jews rose up in Europe's first urban anti-Nazi revolt. They held out for three weeks, before the survivors were killed on site or deported.

A year later, the Nazis crushed a two-month uprising in Warsaw by the Polish underground in which 200,000 died, mostly civilians.

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