The announcement by the Syrian regime that they have chemical weapons and would use them if attacked is on the front page of the Times and covered by several other papers as well. The Financial Times includes comment that suggests Assad’s regime is unlikely to survive. A minutes silence was held yesterday in the Olympic village in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes killed in the 1972. The ceremony is covered in the Independent, Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Daily Express. The Daily Telegraph notes that police are looking for a two people related to the murder of Israeli tourists last week in Bulgaria. The Daily Telegraph runs an obituary of Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv who died last week at 102. He was the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Lithuanian community and “was considered by many the most respected arbiter of his generation on matters of Jewish religious law”. The Independent covers the lifting of restrictions allowing freer movement for Palestinians into Egypt.
In the Israeli media, Yediot Ahronot follows the continuing political theatre as yesterday’s anticipated move by seven Kadima rebels to Likud failed. It does appear that Tzachi Hanegbi, one of the founders of Kadima, will be leaving and returning to Likud. Both Yediot Ahronot and Maariv suggest the PM will support Hanegbi’s appointment to the cabinet because of his support for a strike in Iran. Henegbi himself denied this linkage. Maariv and Israel Hayom prominently cover Syria’s threat to use chemical weapons in retaliation for an attack. Haaretz, meanwhile, warns that half the public are unprotected against a chemical weapon attack. Haaretz also reports that Defence Minister Barak has ordered the demolition of 1,500 Palestinian houses in the West Bank to make way for an IDF training base. The Jerusalem Post follows Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s meeting with EU colleagues where he spoke about settlements not being a barrier to the peace process. He also related to chemical weapons saying, “any attempt to transfer chemical weapons from Syria to Hezbollah will be considered crossing a red line and Israel will not restrain itself and will respond decisively if this happens.” The Jerusalem Post also notes that EU deputy secretary-general Helga Schmid will meet today with her Iranian counterpart for low level talks on Iran’s nuclear programme. Yediot Ahronot suggests US President Barack Obama is expected to visit Israel if he is re-elected.