Archive for December 21st, 2008

SWI NEWS: 24 Kislev 5769, Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday, December 21st, 2008
F-15 fighter (Photo: IAF)

Iranian official: Russia started missile delivery

MP Email Kosari says Moscow has begun delivering air defense systems that could help repel any Israeli, US air strikes  
Russia has begun delivering S-300 air defense systems to Iran which could help repel any Israeli and US air strikes on its nuclear sites, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.  "After few years of talks with Russia ... now the S-300 system is being delivered to Iran," IRNA quoted Email Kosari, deputy head of parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Security committee, as saying.   Kosari did not say when the deliveries began. Iran's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report.    Last week Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Security-Diplomatic Bureau, landed in Moscow to convey Israel's opposition to the deal. While in Russia, Gilad was also expected to address the possible sale of weapons to Syria and the flow of arms through Syria to Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon.   The United States, its European allies and Israel say Iran is seeking to build nuclear arms under the cover of a civilian atomic energy program. Iran denies the charge.   Israel's insistence that Iran must not be allowed to develop an atomic bomb has fueled speculation that the Jewish state, widely assumed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, could mount its own pre-emptive strikes.  

'No capability to make nuclear weapons'

In October Russia's Foreign Ministry denied media speculation that Moscow would sell the medium-range S-300 system, adding Moscow had no intention of selling weapons to "troubled regions."   But Russia's RIA news agency last week quoted "confidential sources" as saying that Russia was fulfilling a S-300 contract with Iran.   The most advanced version of the S-300 system can track targets and fire at aircraft 120 km (75 miles) away. It is known in the West as the SA-20.   Russian arms sales and nuclear cooperation with Iran have strained relations with Washington, which says Tehran could use them against their interests in the region and also against its neighbors.   Russia, building Iran's first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr, says Tehran does not have the capability to make nuclear weapons.   Ali Waked contributed to this report  


Israeli government again backs down as Gaza missile war boils over

DEBKAfile Special Report

December 21, 2008, 7:36 PM (GMT+02:00)

Sderot: Living in mortal fear

Sderot: Living in mortal fear

No military action to stamp out the Palestinian missile blitz against southwestern Israel will be undertaken before "international support" is organized and an attempt to renew the "ceasefire" with Hamas is undertaken. That was the gist of the Israeli cabinet's decision Sunday morning, Dec. 21, after Palestinian terrorists fired eight missiles and mortar shells at Israeli civilian locations, continuing the blitz launched before and after Hamas ended its six-month "truce" Friday.

Israeli helicopters struck three missile teams preparing to fire near the north Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. But the missiles kept coming - 17 by midday.

The ministers pushing hard for harsh military action gave way to prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak's decision to continue the foot-dragging. Neither was perturbed by being accused of letting Hamas and its terrorist partners get away almost scot-free with waging a cross-border war against a large Israeli civilian population.

Cold shouldered by Olmert and Barak, foreign minister Tzipi Livni announced that if she were elected prime minister her government would wipe out the Hamas regime in Gaza.

Sunday, two people were hurt when a missile blast wrecked a Sderot home and a second struck the Netiv Haasara greenhouses injuring a foreign worker. The town of Ashkelon took four hits, two exploding in the city's industrial estate and two outside strategic facilities on the Mediterranean shore.

Schoolchildren were told to stay in their classrooms and forbidden the playground. Magen David Adom's first aid services are on high alert at all the locations within range of Gaza after the population spent Saturday ducking 15 Palestinian missiles and 26 mortar rounds. There were no injuries but the damage to property was considerable.

Hamas leaders have gone into hiding in the smuggling tunnels honeycombing the southern Gaza Strip in case Israel goes back to targeted assassinations.

Hamas: If Israel wants to invade Gaza Strip, then by all means Despite increasing calls among Israeli ministers of a need to launch a military operation to tackle the escalating threat of rocket attacks on the southern border, Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip seemed unperturbed, with one senior member even daring Israel to take the action.
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud...
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar. Photo: AP
"For three years we've been hearing comments about an Israeli invasion into the Gaza Strip. Israel is like a teenager who begins to smoke, chokes, then stops," Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, said during an interview with a Nazareth radio station. "If they want to - by all means," "Even in the days of the ceasefire, Israel didn't allow vital supplies into the Gaza Strip, and this is a callous violation," he continued. "Israel promised to open the crossing but that never happened on the ground." Earlier on Tuesday, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin warned ministers during the weekly cabinet meeting that rocket attacks against Israel may get much worse than the current situation. "The military wing of Hamas is prepared to continue the military confrontation with Israel," Diskin said. "It has improved its rocket-firing capability to long range, and as of today, is able to reach Kiryat Gat, Ashdod, and even the outskirts of Beersheba." "However, we must not err, Hamas is interested in keeping the calm," he continued, adding that the group "Wants to improve the conditions - to remove the blockade, to get a commitment from Israel that it won't attack, and to expand to ceasefire to the West Bank." "The Hamas political leadership is concerned that a military confrontation with Israel would make them lose the assets which they acquired during a long period," Diskin said. Responding to Diskin's comments, spokesman of the Beersheba municipality, Amnon Yosef, said that the city was prepared for any scenario including rockets firing. "Beersheba operates year-round on the maintenance of the bomb shelters, and together with the Home Front Command we run exercises for all sorts of scenarios," Yosef said. "We didn't receive any warnings regarding such a situation," he continued, "but we are prepared for this option as well." Shelly Paz contributed to this report.
Jimmy Carter proudly becomes Hamas advisor
Former US President Jimmy Carter proudly announced on his website at the weekend that during his recent visit to Damascus he advised Hamas leader Khaled Mashal on what price to demand for hostage Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
In a trip report posted to the website of The Carter Center, the former president described Mashal and the other Hamas men he met with as respectable, suit-wearing professionals, and pointedly suggested that none of them are religious fanatics. Carter's visit to Lebanon and Syria last week, like a similar visit several months ago, greatly angered US officials and prominent American commentators. In addition to meeting with a Syrian regime that Washington is trying to isolate, Carter made a point of sitting down with Hamas and requesting an audience with Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah refused the meeting. Carter insists that Hamas and Hizballah are powerful and legitimate players on the Middle East stage that must be engaged in dialogue, while his critics say it is because of people like Carter that groups like Hamas gain legitimacy and become impossible to defeat.  
Bibi: Israelis can't count on miracles During a tour of Sderot on Sunday, Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said, "We'll give our full support to the government if it moves towards an active policy against Hamas in Gaza." Video
Netanyahu toured the southern city with other Likud lawmakers, stopping at a house which was hit by a Kassam rocket earlier in the day. "Residents of Israel can't count on miracles," he said. "Kadima ministers are responsible for the fact that the truce enabled Hamas to rearm with weapons that can reach Ashdod and Beersheba." "There's a full range of actions that can be carried out between not doing anything - which is what the government is doing now - and occupying the Gaza Strip," he added.
The opposition leader went on to echo a statement his party released earlier in the day which charged that Kadima was responsible for continued rocket fire on the western Negev and blamed the breakaway party for withdrawing from Gaza in 2005. " Tzipi Livni and the Kadima ministers are trying to shirk their responsibility with all sorts of feisty declarations, but they're responsible for the unilateral disengagement which created a terror state in Gaza," he said. "For three years, Kadima ministers have twiddled their thumbs and buried their heads in the sand, and the time has come to change that," he added, stressing that "government ministers should stop attacking each other and start attacking Hamas." The earlier Likud statement had asserted that "Israelis are now eating the rotten fruits of the political blindness of Livni and Olmert." "Contrary to [Livni and Olmert, Likud leader Binyamin] Netanyahu and the Likud believe terrorist bases must not be established in Jerusalem, or in Judea and Samaria, and that Hamas's control of Gaza must be overthrown," the Likud statement said    


Published:  12.21.08, 16:32 / Israel News