Syria: Assad Launching Chemical Weapons Attacks with Chlorine - Damien McElroy (Telegraph-UK)
The Assad regime has reverted to the use of lethal chlorine gas, first used in World War I, in a series of recent attacks, Western officials believe.
Francois Hollande, the French president, on Sunday declared the Syrian leader had continued to use chemical weapons.
While the Syrian regime has handed over 80% of its declared chemical weapons stockpile for destruction under UN supervision, officials are examining attacks on at least three towns in the last week where credible reports point to the use of chlorine gas, leaving dozens of people seeking treatment.
Video footage shows Chinese-manufactured chlorine gas canisters rigged with explosive detonators hitting the town of Kafr Zita near Hama.
Palestinians Riot Again Sunday on Temple Mount in Jerusalem - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians rioted again on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday, with the rioting spreading into the Old City's Muslim Quarter.
Israeli police said that dozens of Palestinian youths, many of them masked, were throwing stones and firecrackers at police forces from within the Al-Aksa mosque.
Violence has rocked the Temple Mount virtually every day for the past week.
See also Jordan Slams Israel over Temple Mount Violence (Times of Israel)
Asia to Overtake U.S. as Israel's 2nd Biggest Export Destination - Niv Elis (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli exports to Asia nearly equaled those to the U.S. for the first time in 2013 and will overtake the U.S. in 2014, while the EU remains Israel's major regional export destination, the Economy Ministry said.
Israeli Firm May Partner with Japan to Build Floating Water Desalination Plants - Tafline Laylin
Israel's IDE Technologies Ltd. may partner with Japanese shipbuilders to
built a fleet of floating desalination plants within the next three years.
Each ship would be able to produce up to 120,000 cubic meters of fresh water in a day.
Tel Aviv, Israel, Leads List of Best Beach Party Spots on the Planet - Corinne Canning (USA Today)
The section on beaches of Matador Network's new travel guide stands out, with a tour of the 15 best beaches for a rockin' good time.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Obama Signs Measure Aimed at Blocking Visa for Iran's Proposed UN Envoy - Katie Zezima
President Obama on Friday signed a law barring the U.S. government from providing a visa to any nominee to the UN deemed to have engaged in terrorist activity, a measure aimed at blocking Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's choice as envoy. Obama said he shared Congress' concern that individuals who have engaged in terrorism "may use the cover of diplomacy" to gain entry to the U.S. Iran formally complained to the UN about the denial of Aboutalebi's visa.
Aboutalebi has admitted that he worked with an organization that stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
- After Hizbullah Arrests, Israel Asks Thailand to Bolster Security
The Israeli Embassy in Thailand has asked the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) to step up safety measures for tourists on the popular backpacker Rambutri and Khao San roads in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district until Tuesday after a terrorist plot to attack Israelis in the area was foiled.
Two terrorists were arrested in Bangkok, accused of planning attacks on Israeli tourists on Khao San Road, and of having close ties to Hizbullah.
Police Lt.-Gen. Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said the embassy told police that Hizbullah terrorists were planning to carry out attacks at six locations in Bangkok during Passover. The embassy also thanked the MPB for its arrest of the two men, identified as French-Lebanese national Daoud Farhat and Lebanese-Filipino national Youssef Ayad.
Police Maj.-Gen. Thitirat Nongharnpitak said additional plain-clothes and uniformed police officers had been deployed to Khao San Road and neighboring areas where the majority of Israeli visitors stay. (Bangkok Post-Thailand)
- Supreme Court to Review Law Giving Jerusalem-Born U.S. Citizens an Israeli Birthplace - Robert Barnes
After years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it would decide if Congress or the State Department has the final say in whether U.S. passports acknowledge Jerusalem as part of Israel. A 2002 law passed by Congress says that a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem may request his or her birthplace to be listed as Israel in an attempt to nullify State Department instructions that only "Jerusalem" be listed.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu to Palestinians: When You Want Peace, Let Us Know - Khaled Abu Toameh
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday: "Today, we saw the Palestinian Authority speak of dismantling itself and also talking about unity with Hamas....When they want peace, they should let us know. Because we want a genuine peace." (Jerusalem Post)
See also U.S. Warns Palestinians Not to Dismantle PA - Yitzhak Benhorin
The U.S. administration warned the Palestinian leadership Monday not to proceed with a proposal to dismantle the Palestinian Authority - or risk damaging their ties to Washington. "Those kinds of extreme measures would have grave implications," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
- Iran's Redesign of Arak Heavy Water Reactor an "Exercise in Deceit" - Shlomo Cesana
Israel believes Iran's Saturday announcement regarding the redesign of its Arak heavy water reactor to greatly limit the amount of plutonium it can produce is little more than an exercise to keep the negotiations going while Iran continues to work toward its goal of developing a nuclear bomb. Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said: "This is an exercise in deceit on the part of the Iranians. The Iranians are prepared to make concessions, but not on the most critical and threatening issue. They are protecting the core program."
"If the Iranians offer not to switch from heavy water to light water, but instead to lower the reactor's output, that is an unacceptable offer. Instead of being able to create a bomb every year, they will create one every two years," Steinitz said. "As long as the Iranians are not prepared to give up on uranium enrichment and centrifuges, they continue to be a nuclear threshold state and we cannot agree to that."
Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Saturday that Iran plans to increase its number of centrifuges until it reaches the capacity to enrich 30 tons of uranium per year.
- Gaza Rocket Salvo Hits Israel - Shirley Sieder
Ten rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza exploded in Israel on Monday morning. One of the missiles hit a street in the city of Sderot, causing damage but no injuries.
The Israel Air Force responded by attacking targets in Gaza.
See also Hamas Tells Israel It Does Not Seek Escalation - Itamar Sharon
Hamas on Monday sent messages to Israel stressing that it was not behind a barrage of rockets fired at Israel in the morning, Israel's Channel 10 TV reported.
(Times of Israel)
- Dismantle the Palestinian Authority? Not Likely - Avi Issacharoff
At least three Palestinian threats have become a recurrent ritual, repeating themselves every few months: 1) the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas from the presidency of the Palestinian Authority; 2) the resignation of top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat; and 3) the dissolution of the PA. The probability that the PA will be dissolved is very low. The discussion in recent days has been mainly in the Israeli media, with little to no discourse in the Palestinian media.
Abbas understands that dismantling the PA would lead to countless acts of violence, not only against Israel but also within Palestinian society. For Abbas, dissolving the PA security apparatus would increase Hamas' power and severely imperil every PA and Fatah official. Another important consideration is the future of the 150,000 PA workers and Fatah members, in the West Bank and in Gaza, who receive salaries each month.
(Times of Israel)
- The Necessity to Condemn Terrorism - Uri Elitzur
It has been claimed that Israel can't criticize PA leader Mahmoud Abbas for not condemning the murder of Israel Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi because Israeli leaders never condemn or express sadness when a Palestinian is killed.
There have not been many cases where a Jewish murderer fired with premeditation at a passing Arab family with the intention of killing Arabs. There were a handful of these terrible cases over the past 40 years. But there is no basis for trying to create some sort of balance between Arab terror and Jewish terror.
It is not possible to claim that no Israeli leaders condemned murder by Jews. The situation is exactly the opposite. There was no Israeli leader who did not condemn them - in the clearest language, without any "but" or "on the other hand," and without stuttering - from the left and the right, from the top leaders to the lowest officials - at the time of the event and also years later.
There was never a shadow of a doubt that all Israeli leaders condemned them with full force and at full volume.
(Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 28Apr2014)
Intelligence Revolution: In the Next War, Israeli Troops Will Know Exactly What They Face in Each Sector - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
- Israel's operational intelligence has been undergoing a dramatic process in recent years. No longer will commanding officers go out to fight relying on shreds of intelligence and what they see through their binoculars. The next war will be based more significantly upon intelligence, and will allow each force to know what it faces in every sector.
- A commander who must fight in a particular village in southern Lebanon, for example, will receive more than maps and current aerial photographs (rather than ones that were last updated some years before, as happened in 2006), in color. He will also be given pinpoint intelligence about the enemy and the various threats in the sector - and also about the civilian population concentrations so that he may avoid harming civilians as much as possible.
- New technology allows an abundance of information in real time from many sources. In general, it can be used to transfer any bit of information that is gathered by any source to any screen of any commanding officer anywhere.
- The result is a coherent picture in which the commander has all the information about our own troops and about the enemy. The company commander can receive on his laptop, in the field, information and updates, and the force will have a color printout of a current aerial photograph of the village - with all the threats.
- Since technical malfunctions or cyber attacks could disrupt plans, the troops are drilled carefully in "intelligence blindness" to prevent commanders from developing a dangerous addiction to the intelligence.
Today's issue of Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.
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