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US to Arm Syrian Rebels: Putin's Rebuke, Chinese 'Peace Plan' Mar Netanyahu's Chinese Trip

By DEBKAfile

Negative diplomatic ricochets are pursuing Israel in the aftermath of its air force attacks on Syria. In the first place, they are seen to have had no effect on Hizbullah's successful military intervention on the side of the Assad regime or the Syrian war at large.

In the second, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by President Vladimir Putin Monday, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond. Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria.

DEBKAfile's military sources disclose that the Russian leader was referring to S-300 anti-air systems and the nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO named SS-26 Stone) surface missiles, which are precise enough to hit a target within a 5-7 meter radius at a distance of 280 kilometers. In his phone call to Netanyahu, the Russian leader made no bones about his determination not to permit the US, Israel or any other regional force (e.g. Turkey and Qatar) overthrow President Bashar Assad. He advised the prime minister to make sure to keep this in mind.

Our sources add: Since Syrian air defense teams have already trained in Russia on the handling of the S-300 interceptor batteries, they can go into service as soon as they are landed by one of Russia's daily airlifts to Syria. Russian air defense officials will supervise their deployment and prepare them for operation.

Moscow is retaliating not just for Israel's air operations against Syria but in anticipation of the Obama administration's impending decision to send the first US arms shipments to the Syrian rebels. Intelligence agencies in Moscow and the Middle East take it for granted that by the time Washington goes public on this decision, some of the Syrian rebel factions will already be armed with American weapons.

That the measure was in the works was signified by the introduction Monday by Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of legislation allowing the US to provide arms and military training to the Syrian rebels, US military instructors have been working with Syrian rebels at training camps in Jordan and Turkey for some months. So putting the arms in their hands only awaited a decision in Washington.

Putin's message to Netanyahu was intended to reach a wider audience than Jerusalem, such as Barack Obama in Washington and President Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of Netanyahu's talks there Tuesday.

Therefore, when Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Moscow that day, in an attempt "bridge the divide" between their governments on the Syria conflict, he was preceded by a barrage of Russian condemnation of the Israeli air strikes in Damascus "as a threat to regional stability," a stiff warning from the Russian foreign ministry to the "West" to stop "politicizing the issue of chemical weapons in Syria," and Moscow's "concern that world public opinion was being prepared for possible foreign military intervention."

In other words, the Russian leader rejected in advance and with both hands any attempt by the US to use the Israeli air strikes as leverage for a deal with Moscow for ending the Syrian war. US weapons supplies to the rebels would furthermore be matched by stepped-up arms supplies to the Assad regime, which Putin is totally committed to preserving.

The Chinese government's cold shoulder to Israel was exhibited less directly that Moscow's but no less firmly. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was invited to visit Beijing and meet President Xi two days before the prime minister arrived in the Chinese capital Tuesday to begin the official part of his visit. The Chinese president unveiled his peace plan before meeting Netanyahu.

This plan emphasizes, as the key to a settlement, the Palestinian right to a state on the basis of 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital. It also adopts Abbas' preconditions for talks, including a stop to settlement activities, an end of the Gaza blockade and "proper handling" of the Palestinian prisoners issue.

Clearly, Netanyahu would have been wiser to postpone his Chinese visit instead of taking off while Israeli air force blasts will still reverberating in Damascus. By staying at home, he would have displayed a firmer and steadier hand at the helm. And after taking off, he would have done well not to linger for two days in Shanghai first. This gave the Russian leader the chance to catch him wrong-footed and administer a strong, publicized rebuke, so bearing down on the agenda of Netanyahu's forthcoming talks with Chinese leaders.

Arab Terror in the City of Peace:: Jerusalem Reunification Day – May 8, 2013

By Eli E. Hertz (Commentary)

Palestinian Arabs have concentrated many of their terrorist attacks on Jews in Jerusalem, hoping to win the city by an onslaught of terror who seek to make life in the City of Peace unbearable. But this is not a new tactic. Arab strategy to turn Jerusalem into a battleground began in 1920.

Unfortunately, Arab leaders often turn to violence to gain what they were unable to achieve at the negotiating table. When talks broke down at Camp David in 2000, Palestinian Arab leaders unleashed the al-Aqsa Intifada, which amounted to a full-blown guerrilla war against Israel.

It began the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when Arab mobs hurled rocks from the Temple Mount onto Jewish worshipers praying at the Western Wall below. That rock attack turned into a steady campaign of terrorist attacks. As the priming powder for the Intifada, Palestinian leaders incited Palestinians and Muslims throughout the world with fables that falsely suggested that Jews began an assault on al-Aqsa when Ariel Sharon made a half-hour visit to the Temple Mount during tourist hours. The truth is that Palestinians' plans for warfare had begun immediately after Arafat walked out of the Camp David talks.

Why do Palestinian Arabs focus terror attacks on the City of Peace? Because Palestinians, despite their rhetoric, fully understand Jerusalem's symbolic and spiritual significance to the Jews. Suicide attacks – on public buses and cafes, malls, and other crowded sites in the heart of the city – since the 1993 Oslo Accords, are designed to make life hell for Jewish Jerusalemites.

Atrocities like the February and March 1996 bombings of two #18 buses that killed 26 people and the August 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria that killed 15 (including five members of one family), are part of an ongoing 120-year-old battle that Arabs have waged in opposition to Zionism. In April 1920, a three-day rampage by religiously incited anti-Zionist Arab mobs left six dead and 200 injured in the Jewish Quarter. The attackers gutted synagogues and ransacked homes. Arabs planted time bombs in public places as far back as February 1947, when they blasted Ben-Yehuda Street, Jerusalem's main thoroughfare, leaving 50 dead.

This was all done before the establishment of the State of Israel. In the 1950s, Jordanians periodically shot at Jewish neighborhoods from the walls of the Old City. And after the city was united in 1967, Arabs renewed their battle for the city by planting bombs in cinemas and supermarkets. The first terrorist attack in that renewed battle came with the 1968 bombing of Jerusalem's "Machane Yehuda," the open market that left 12 dead.

The plain facts about Palestinian Arab behavior clearly demonstrate that under international law they have forfeited any claim to the City of Peace. Their aggression cannot and should not be rewarded.

Budapest Jews Fear Violent Attack Only `A Matter of Time'

By The Times of Israel

Denes Ban was wearing a kippah and walking through the small Jewish area of the Hungarian capital Budapest one day recently when he overheard two younger people talking about him.

"One said to the other, in Hungarian, `Look at this guy… what's on his head? He's a Jew! Thank God the new government will make sure these type of people won't walk on the streets.' I was shocked," the Budapest native told The Times of Israel, saying the incident was one of the scariest he has experienced.

With the World Jewish Congress holding its assembly in Budapest as a show of support this week, Jews in the Hungarian capital said that anti-Semitism is still alive and well on both banks of the Danube. Ban said the incident was not the only in which he was threatened, insulted, spat at, or cursed. "It happens from time to time," he said.

When he retorted at someone who was taunting him outside a synagogue, the man stuttered and lost his confidence. "They're used to Jews not replying, just accepting," Ban said.

Jews have felt at home and prospered in Hungary since the fall of the Communist regime, but "over the past decade, things have changed" and fear has returned, Dr. Peter Feldmajer, president of the Hungarian Jewish community, told the congress on Sunday. The 59-year-old said recent attacks against Jews and attempts to pass anti-Semitic legislation were "warning bells" that cannot be ignored. Chief among Jewish concerns in Hungary is the rise of the ultra-rightist Jobbik party, which openly espouses anti-Semitic views and won 12 percent of parliamentary seats in 2010 elections.

Today Budapest is "where an elderly rabbi is attacked in the street … where fascists are heard … where anti-Semite authors are added to the school curriculum," Feldmajer said.

Members of the extreme right, led by the Jobbik, have already killed people from the Roma minority; the Jews fear they're next in line, a member of the community said. "The question isn't if, it's when," he said, noting the boosted security — which includes surveillance and policemen — around various community establishments.

While many local Jews were willing to speak openly, some feared having their name mentioned in this article. Others were reluctant to even be interviewed. "It's only a matter of time before someone is hurt," Oren Glick, who oversees the kosher certification of the community's restaurants, said after morning prayers in one of the capital's synagogues. The Israeli-born, ultra-Orthodox Glick said that anti-Semitism, though not yet life threatening, is visible and present every day, near every Jewish establishment in town.

"One of the school teachers has a neighbor who spits when he walks by. It happens on his way to work, every single day," Glick explained, adding that the level of security — both by the police and the community — "is extremely high, more than before, because curses and spitting will eventually turn into physical assaults."

Yitzhak, a community member who wished to avoid having his full Hungarian name in print, bemoaned that he had little hope in the World Jewish Congress meeting or its statements. "What difference will it make?" he asked, noting that the Jobbik party was gaining power in parliament.

"People can talk, and maybe draw attention to the matter," he said. But, he added, some of the security precautions for the conference — such as the closing of streets and the positioning of policemen on street corners, meant to protect the hundreds of WJC delegates — are counterproductive and only cause antagonism. "At the end of the day [the delegates] will leave Budapest and we'll have to deal with reality."

A similar opinion was voiced by a member of the Hungarian delegation to the congress, who said that the problem can be solved only if there is dialogue between the Jewish community and the Hungarian political leadership. "If it takes the WJC to draw attention [to the issue], it shows just how bad the situation is," he said.

The delegate explained how the Jobbik party, infamous for calling to start a registry of Jews in the country, has grown stronger in recent years, due to the combination of the global financial crisis and internal Hungarian politics. "People see problems that aren't being solved, and they try to make their own solution," he stated. "Blaming Jews, Roma and others is a way of venting one's anger and frustration."

Budapest's Jewish community "is once again under threat," community leader Feldmajer said, shortly after keynote speakers — including WJC President Ronald Lauder and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban — likened the situation today to that of the 1930s.

"I don't see an incident like [the 1938] Kristallnacht happening in the near future, but I do worry individuals might start to commit more serious acts," Ban replied when asked whether the situation would grow worse. "People are frustrated and are taking it out on the Jews. Orban says the acts are bad, but he isn't speaking out against the Jobbik party because he needs votes," he charged.

"I don't think Orban is an anti-Semite … rather, he wants power" — and he made some questionable decisions to achieve it, Ban said, adding that 20 years ago the Hungarian prime minister was one of his favorite politicians. "He was brave, charismatic. He represented real liberal values."

Businessman Ban said one of the biggest problems is the lack of initiative when it comes to combating anti-Semitism in Hungary. "We respond, but we don't create dialogue or educate people before this happens," he elaborated, adding that "using the Holocaust card" to guilt-trip the other side was problematic and couldn't be done forever.

Recounting the tale that in ancient China a doctor who got sick was considered a bad doctor, Ban drew parallels with fighting anti-Semitism. "The goal is also to fight anti-Semitic acts when they happen, but it's more important to prevent them," he stated. "The best analogy is cancer. Once someone has it, it's very hard to cure."

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