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IsraCast Archive | January-February 2008


Hamas Claims The Right To Rocket Israeli Civilians From Gaza

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Returns Home To Face Mounting Demands For IDF Invasion Into Gaza To Halt Rocketing

'The Palestinian rocketing of Ashqelon from the Gaza Strip marks a new dimension in the confrontation and one which cannot be tolerated by Israel' - that's the reaction of Israeli officials to the Palestinian barrage of Ashqelon this week. Within forty-eight hours, Palestinian terrorists launched some 100 rockets at Israeli population centers. In escalating counter-terror operations, the IDF killed 18 Palestinians most of them terrorists. IsraCast is of the view that if there is no let-up in the Palestinian rocketing, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his government will not be able to hold off from launching a long awaited ground offensive into northern Gaza to drive out the rocket squads.



IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Amos Yadlin: 'Our Latest Estimate Is That Iran Will Acquire Nuclear Weapons Option By 2010'

Prof. Irwin Cotler: 'Iranian President Ahmadinejad's Genocidal Threats To Israel Reminiscent Of Nazi Germany & In Violation Of U.N. Charter'

IDF Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen Amos Yadlin has said that Iran may acquire a nuclear weapons option by 2010. In a closed door briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the intelligence chief reported that the Iranians had run into some 'technological problems' in uranium enrichment while, with the help of North Korea, they are developing new missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometers. Canadian MP Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian Justice Minister and McGill Law professor, told IsraCast that Iranian President Ahmadinejad's threats 'to wipe Israel off the map' are in flagrant violation of the U.N. charter and something should be done about it.


General Dan Shomron passed away

Dan Shomron was born in Kibbutz Ashdot Ya'akov, enlisted into the Paratroopers in 1955 and took part in reprisal activities and in the "Kadesh" operation (Sinai Campaign of 1956).



Prof. Bernard Lewis: 'Totally False Analogy To Compare U.S. Role In Iraq With Vietnam - It Is More Similar To Chamberlain At Munich'

'The Incredible Level of International & U.N. Discrimination Against Israel Since Its Founding Shows No Sign Of Dissipating'

'Many Arab Leaderships View Radical Islam & Iran As Greater Dangers Than Israel'

Prof. Bernard Lewis, considered by many to be the dean of Middle East experts, has rejected the comparison of the U.S. role in Iraq to Vietnam. Addressing the Jerusalem conference in the Israeli capital, Lewis called it: 'a total false analogy' - it may be more similar to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his capitulation to Nazi Germany's Adolph Hitler at Munich in 1938. Among other topics, Lewis also explained why many Arab leaderships now view radical Islam and Iran as more dangerous than Israel.



IDF Chief Of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi: 'I Have Ordered IDF On Special Alert On Land , Sea & In The Air'

Hezbollah Commander Imad Mugniyah Was Israel's 'Osama Bin Laden'

Ease Of Assassination Raises Questions About Perpetrators

The Israeli public is paying little notice to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's denial that Israeli agents were not involved in the assassination of Hezbollah arch-terrorist Imad Mugniyah in the heart of Damascus. One newspaper article carried the sardonic headline: 'Mossad Chief Meir Dagan Is Sitting Shiva' - (seven day mourning period for the dead). The Hezbollah chief is known to have planned and executed the murder of scores of Israelis and the cross border raid that triggered the Second Lebanon War in July 2006. IsraCast is of the view Imad Mugniyah had become Israel's 'Osama Bin Laden' in the eyes of Israeli intelligence.


Hezbollah Top Commander Assassinated in Damascus

Imad Mugniyah is responsible for murder of hundreds of Israelis, Americans and Argentinians world-wide

Hezbollah and Iran hold Israel responsible - PM Ehud Olmert denies any connection with the killing

The terrorist chief was killed when he sat on the seat of his vehicle which blew up in Damascus. Israeli experts say Mugniyah was number one on Israel's wanted list of terrorists and his death is a major blow to terrorist organizations.


War to finish with Hamas

Labor Knesset Member Efraim Sneh: 'Israel's Strategic Goal Is To End Hamas Rule In Gaza'

'Iran Is Trying To Build Forward Base in Gaza'

'Irresponsible U.S. National Intelligence Estimate Has Put Israel In A Tight Corner As Iran Continues Nuclear Weapons Drive'

What is Israel's ultimate goal in the ongoing war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip? Labor Knesset Member Efraim Sneh told IsraCast that it is not only to stem the continual Palestinian rocketing of Sderot but to also eliminate Hamas rule over Gaza. Hamas, like its patron Iran, was set on Israel's destruction and the Israeli people must realize that the war for Jewish existence in its ancient homeland began over 100 years ago and is still continuing. Sneh, the former Deputy Minister of Defense criticized the recent U.S. National Intelligence estimate that had put Israel in a tight corner while Iran continues its nuclear weapons program.


Tom Lantos (1928-2008)

U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos died of esophageal cancer at the age of 80. Lantos survived the Holocaust by escaping twice from a forced labor camp and was the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress. He was a strong supporter of Israel.


All Options Open On Gaza

Defense Minister Ehud Barak: 'The IDF Will Stop Qassam Rocketing Of Sderot One Way Or The Other'

'Major Ground Operation Into Qassam Is Closer But Not In A Matter Of Days'

Barak Refuses To Rule Israel's Targeting Of Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh'

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is feeling the heat of the continuous Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot from Gaza. This after two Sderot brothers were badly injured on Saturday when Qassam rockets slammed into the town from Beit Hanun less than a mile away. One of the boys had his leg amputated, the other is still in serious condition. That was the background to Defense Minister Barak's closed door briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. After talking with several committee members, IsraCast is of the view that Barak will now be forced to consider more drastic steps to halt the rocketing - this could include giving the green light for a major ground offensive into Gaza, if there is no halt to the Qassams.



Cabinet Minister Ben Eliezer: 'I Doubt If Any Country In the World Would Supply Electricity To Neighbor Which Uses It To Produce Rockets For Attacks'

Hamas Official To Israeli Parents In Sderot: 'Pack Up And Leave For Sake Of Your Children' As Terrorists Fire Over 25 Rockets At Town'

Prof. Dror's Interview Sabotages Winograd Findings

The aftermath of the Winograd findings into the Second Lebanon War and Gaza dominated the headlines in Israel this week. The fireworks are still popping after Prof. Yehezkel Dror's controversial interview that appeared to favor the Olmert-Barak leadership rather than the Likud's Bibi Netanyahu. Dror argues that he acted impartially on the Winograd panel but IsraCast says the highly esteemed political scientist has virtually sabotaged the Winograd enquiry. Meanwhile, Israel is starting to cut its power supply to Gaza in retaliation for the Palestinian firing of Qassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot and other communities in the Negev. And in a new twist, A Palestinian official has warned Israeli parents in Sderot to evacuate their homes for the sake of their children.


Winograd Whirlwind

Winograd Member Yehezkel Dror: 'If we think Prime Minister Olmert is conducting a serious peace process this is a very important consideration'

Opposition Knesset Members: 'Dror's shocking statement reveals that the Lebanon War inquiry was partial to the Prime Minister'

Professor Yehezkel Dror of the five-member Winograd inquiry into the Second Lebanon War has shocked Israel with statements that show partiality toward Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Opposition Knesset Members from both right and left have condemned Dror's statements charging that the Winograd commission was stacked in Olmert's favor. However, the IsraCast assessment is that despite the firestorm sparked by Professor Dror there is slim chance it will lead to a new public inquiry.



Future of Olmert Coalition Government Now Hinges On Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Barak Must Decide Between Honoring His Word To Topple Olmert And Continuing His Job Of Rehabilitating The IDF After Second Lebanon War

Barak's Party Could Convene To Decide the Issue Which has Split Israeli Society

Labor party leader Ehud Barak is now wrestling with the most difficult question of his long and distinguished political and military career - should he resign as defense minister and topple the Olmert government after the scathing Winnograd enquiry into the Second Lebanon War or is his first duty to carry on reforming the Israel Defense Forces? The stakes are extremely high. All the opinion polls indicate that Bibi Netanyahu's Likud party would win an early election and form the next government. This at a time the Jewish state faces a mounting nuclear threat from Iran, relentless Palestinian rocketing from the Gaza Strip and faltering peace talks with West Bank Palestinians. The questions of the honorable politician and true patriot have created a unique and painful dilemma that includes the families of fallen soldiers and reserve soldiers who feel they were let down by an incompetent Olmert government during the recent war against Hezbollah.


Gaza Territorial Solution

Prof. Yehoshua Ben Arieh: 'Palestinian Breakout To Sinai Illustrates Need To Find Territorial Solution For Gaza Strip'

'Impossible To Resolve Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Without Solution To Gaza'

'Solution Is A Trilateral Land Swap Between Israel, Palestinians And Egypt'

In a dramatic new development, over one-hundred thousand Palestinians burst through Egyptian security forces into Sinai. An estimated one and half million Palestinians are closed-off in the Gaza Strip by Israel in the north and Egypt to the south. Ruled by the fanatical Hamas Islamists, they refuse to accept Israel's right to exist and continually rocket the nearby Israeli town of Sderot. In response, Israel has closed off its border and reduced its supplies of power and fuel. The situation in Gaza has turned from bad to worse while Israeli and Palestinian negotiators from the West Bank try to make progress in their peace contacts. In an interview with IsraCast, Israeli geographer Prof. Yehoshua Ben-Arieh presents a land exchange plan between Israel, the Palestinians and Egypt that he believes could lead to a breakthrough.



John Bolton:'Recent American National Estimate Has Given Iran Free Rein To Develop Nuclear Weapons'

'Israel Is Fast Approaching Point Of Deciding Whether To Use Military Force Against Iran'

'The US Should Use Military Force As Last Resort To Prevent A Nuclear Iran'

Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton has painted a grim picture of the Iranian nuclear threat in light of the resent American intelligence assessment that created the impression that Iran halted its nuclear weapon program in 2003. Visiting Israel for the Herzliya Conference, Bolton left no doubt that the NIE has enabled the Iranians to proceed in the development of nuclear weapons. The former diplomat made clear that is was highly unlikely that US President George W. Bush would take military action against Iran before the end of his term in less than a year.



Ambassador Meir Rosenne: 'Israel Like Every Other State Has The Right & Duty To Defend Its Citizens From Terrorist Attacks On Sderot That Have Been Going On For More Than Seven Years'

'Campaign Of Vilification Being Conducted Around the World Against Israel For Doing What Any Other Country Would Do In Light Of Hamas Provocation'

'International Community Ignored Seven Years Of Terrorist Rocketing Of Sderot But Mobilizes To Condemn Israel For Defending Itself'

Even while the U.N. Security Council was discussing the escalation between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Palestinian terrorists were still launching their Qassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. They were hoping to kill or wound any men, women and children who might be caught out in the open and to score a direct hit on a home, school or kindergarten. This has been going on for over seven years now and has actually escalated since Israel totally withdrew from the Gaza Strip more than two years ago. In Jerusalem, President Shimon Peres declared that the Security Council should condemn Hamas and not the Israeli measures to try and halt the rocketing. IsraCast turned to Dr. Meir Rosenne a leading Israeli jurist and a former ambassador to the U.S. and France for an analysis of both the legal and political aspects of the ongoing situation.


Gaza invasion - pros and cons

MK (Gen.) Dani Yatom: 'Israel should escalate special operations and not launch ground invasion of Gaza'

MK (Gen.) Yitzhak Ben-Israel: 'IDF full scale operation into Gaza is only way to suppress unbearable rocketing of Sderot'

Israel has not yet found a solution for stopping the terrorist rocketing of Sderot from the Gaza Strip that reached a new level of intensity this week. For the time being, the Israeli government has decided against launching a ground invasion of Gaza to suppress the attacks which are turning Sderot into a ghost town. IsraCast turned to two retired IDF generals for their analysis of the security dilemma. Kadima Knesset Member Yitzhak Ben-Israel said the IDF must be ordered to conduct a full-scale ground operation- this was the only way to halt the rocketing. On the other hand, Labor MK Dani Yatom favors more special operations that should also target Hamas political leaders such as Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.



Lieberman Protests Phony Palestinian Peace Process While Real War Being Waged Over Sderot

Olmert & Barak Prefer Escalation Of Special Operations Rather Than IDF Invasion Of Gaza

Olmert Coalition Government Still Pivots On Labor's Barak

In Israel this week, the escalation along the Gaza border and the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman's' Party from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition government may have more in common than meets the eye. IsraCast is of the view that both developments set the stage for determining questions of national leadership in the post Winograd period. Political leaders from across the political spectrum will be taking a stand on the issues of war and peace with the Palestinians.



Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: 'Israel Will Not Acquiesce In Iran's Acquiring Nuclear Weapons'

Likud Opposition Backs Government's Position Against Iran Going Nuclear

Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations On Core Issues Now Threatening Olmert's Coalition

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has declared that Israel will not acquiesce in Iran developing nuclear weapons. Briefing the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, the Israeli leader repeated the long-standing position of the Jewish which Iranian President Mahmoud Achmadinejad threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Likud MK Silvan Shalom, a former foriegn minister, agreed that Israel must also consider the military option in confronting an Iranian nuclear threat but he was also convinced that stiffer sanctions could dissuade the Iranians as they had Libya and North Korea. Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Zippi Livni with Palestinian representative Ahmed Queira met in Jerusalem to start discussing the 'core issues' such as borders, security, Jerusalem, the refugees etc. But this could trigger the breakup of the current governmnent coalition.



Bush Peace Effort Between Israelis & Palestinians Pays Price Of Admission For Rest Of Middle East Tour

Impression Of Israeli-Palestinian Process Helps Preserve America's Regional Interests

Bush Solution Unlikely To Change Much No Matter Which Candidate Wins Presidential Election

U.S. President George W. Bush has come and gone saying the right things in Jerusalem & Ramallah to shore up his Israeli & Palestinian partners. Bush told Israelis 'to end the occupation' and the Palestinians 'to end the terrorism'. This was not new but it was something that America's Arab allies needed to hear before he lands in their capitals. These Arab leaders, who also feel the threat of el Qaeda and of a nuclear armed Iran, are under pressure from their 'Arab streets' for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The IsraCast assessment is that Bush tried hard to shore up Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and West Bank Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but the question is for how long?


Bush, Israel and ' Iranian Bomb'

President Peres: 'Iran should not underestimate Israel's resolve for self-defense'

U.S President Bush: 'Alliance guarantees Israel as a Jewish state'

Israeli officials may present Bush with new intelligence on Iranian nuclear development'

U.S president George W. Bush has received a warm welcome by Israeli leaders at Ben-Gurion airport. Although the Israeli-Palestinian process is at the top of the agenda the Iranian nuclear threat is looming over the President's visit to Israel. A former Israeli security official says Israeli leaders may present new, undisclosed intelligence information to Bush in light of the recent US intelligence estimate that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003.



Palestinian Terrorism Overshadows Upcoming Bush Visit

Zalman Shoval: 'Olmert Should Tell U.S. President That Israel Cannot Shed Israeli Blood For Sake Of Diplomatic Moves'

'Israel Should Draw Red Line After Palestinian Rocketing Of Ashqelon'

Less than a week before U.S. President George W. Bush visits Israel, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza Strip have escalated their rocketing attacks by launching a Grad - Katyusha at the Israeli city of Ashqelon. Although the terrorists have been rocketing Sderot for years, the Ashqelon rocketing is being viewed with greater gravity. And even on the West Bank, the domain of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, terrorists shot dead two Israeli hikers. One of the killers was a Palestinian policeman on the Abbas payroll. Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli Ambassador to Washington told IsraCast that Prime Minister Olmert must tell the U.S. leader that the blood of Israelis will not be shed for the sake of American peace moves. Two years after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a coma, Shoval has no doubt that things would be different if Sharon were prime minister today.



Knesset Report: 'IDF Entered Second Lebanon War Unprepared & Without Operational Plan - Over-depended On Air Power To Suppress Hezbollah Rocketing Without Preparing Significant Ground Operation'

Reserve Soldiers Interrupt Knesset Presentation Demanding Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Resignation

A group of IDF reserve soldiers interrupted the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during its presentation of a report into the Second Lebanon War of 2005. They protested committee members focusing on military aspects of the war while not dealing with the government's responsibility. Although scathing in its criticism, the report itself revealed no surprises - the IDF was ill prepared to go to war after Hezbollah guerrillas crossed the northern border killing 7 soldiers and abducting 2 others while rocketing Galilee with Katyushas. But above and beyond the Hezbollah war, IsraCast says the report came against the background of a similar situation evolving in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip where Palestinian terrorists continuously rocket the Israeli town of Sderot.


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IsraCast Archive | January-February 2008

IsraCast Archive