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Iran & Goldstone - The Missing Links

Prime Minister Netanyahu: 'Israeli Seizure Of Illegal Iranian Arms Shipment Exposes Absurdity of Goldstone Report'

After Pro-Arab Automatic Majority In UN General Assembly, Israel Counting On US To Veto Goldstone Report In Security Council

IsraCast Assessment: Huge Iranian Arms Shipment To Hezballah & Hamas Test Launch Of Sixty Kilometer Rocket Part Of Iranian Strategy To Deter Israel

 Almost daily this week, there were dramatic developments in Israel's counter-terror campaign. At the center, what Israeli experts call the 'Iranian octopus' of terrorist activities - the Israeli seizure at sea of an innocent- looking merchant ship, the Francop, with a cargo of hundreds tons of weapons and explosives plying its course to Syria and then on to Hezballah in south Lebanon. Secondly, the Palestinians test launched a rocket with a sixty kilometer range that could hit the Tel Aviv metropolitan area of the Jewish state. This did not make any impression in the UN General Assembly. There, delegates of the 118 nations of the pro- Arab majority, took the podium to vilify the Jewish state for defending her citizens against Iranian sponsored terrorism. This time they had a new rallying point - what is viewed in Israel as the infamous Goldstone report that alleged that Israel had committed war crimes during the Cast Lead operation to halt eight years of rocketing of Israeli civilians from Gaza. IsraCast joins the dots of the big picture. 

 Behind the breaking developments both here in the Middle East and at the United Nations - Iran is apparently orchestrating events with a strategic goal in mind. Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon already has an arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets more than before the Second Lebanon War of 2006. Why was it necessary for the Iranians to send another 500 tons of weapons and explosives to Hezballah? The Iranian strategy is to create an even greater deterrent to Israel, if and when the Israeli government might have to face a crucial decision about going it alone. That is if the current US diplomatic effort fails to dissuade the Iranians from continuing their nuclear weapons program and if the Obama administration decides, as some American experts contend ' to live with an Iranian bomb'. (French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner recently commented that it was essential for diplomacy to succeed with Tehran, otherwise the Israelis would attack Iran's nuclear weapons facilities if she felt threatened. (Was Kouchner implying that the international community would not and had taken the military option off the table?) 

Benyamin Netanyahu

This is the powder keg, the Iranians are again creating along Israel's northern border. It is not only a red light for Israel but should also be for the Lebanese government of which Hiballah is a member. In other words, Lebanon will bear full responsibility for any new Hezballah aggression; in the same manner the Syrian government would be held to account for any attacks on Israel from its sovereign territory. It also indicates that the Iranians view this further strengthening of the Hizballah deterrent so important to their overall policy, that they were ready to risk the loss of tens of millions of dollars that their failing economy can little afford. 

So much for Israel's northern frontier. The Iranians are implementing the same approach with Hamas, their Palestinian surrogate in Gaza. Case in point - the test launch over the Mediterranean of a rocket with a sixty-kilometer range that would put Tel Aviv, Israel's major population center, within range. Israel officials also believe this longer range rocket was supplied by Iran. Although Israeli intelligence the Israel Navy succeeded in legally capturing the Francop, other such arms ships could have sailed through without being caught. The other alternative could have been that the upgraded rockets were smuggled through the tunnels from Sinai, although the Egyptians are making a much better effort at blocking this arms conduit, many are still open. If so, the rockets would have to have been reassembled - no easy task. Possibly Iranian experts were on hand to supervise the job. The bottom line is that Iran may also have in place, a rocket capability to put Tel Aviv under fire. So, the Iranians have created a pincer-type deterrent that could be activated at a time of Tehran's choosing, a threat that Israeli leaders will have to take into consideration in any future decisions. If indeed this is the case, Iran will keep a tight rein on both Hizballah and Hamas to forestall their launching a new campaign against Israel that does not suit Iranian interests. The massive and sophisticated Iranian arms supplies to Hezbollah and Hamas have in effect created Iranian forward bases in south Lebanon and Gaza, military formations in every sense of the word operating under Iranian command not ragtag terror groups. 

As for Judge Richard Goldstone how would he suggest Israel defend her citizens from such dire threats? On the basis of his counter - terror expertise how does Judge Goldstone think democratic states in general and Israel in particular, should defend their her citizens from terrorists, who exploit their own people as human shields. How should Israel respond if the city of Tel Aviv were to suddenly be rocketed from Gaza and southern Lebanon by terrorists who set up their rocket launchers near schools and hospitals? It can be said that the Americans, the Brits and the other NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting terrorism with one hand tied behind their back - Judge Goldstone has ruled that Israel should fight no less dangerous terrorists than those in Iraq and Afghanistan with nearly both hands tied behind her back. 

There is one big difference - there is no comparison with the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed in Iraq and the tens of thousands, many by air strikes, in Afghanistan. Yet the Goldstone enquiry, set up the UN's Human Rights Council, which spends most of its time and resolutions on condemning the Jewish state, has seen fit to accuse Israel of alleged war crimes during last year's Cast Lead operation into Gaza. During the operation to halt eight years of Palestinian rocketing of Israeli civilians some, 1500 Palestinians were killed including some 300 women and children. ( The 300 figure included juveniles to the age of 18, which obviously involved many teenagers who were recruited into the terror organization and fulfilled military roles.) In fact, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former British commander in Afghanistan has stated that the Israel Defense Forces took more precautions to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza than do the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. 

At the UN, Israeli ambassador Gavriella Shalev had no illusions about the outcome of the Goldstone debate in the General Assembly, where 118 of the 192 nations are loyal members of the pro- Arab automatic majority. There is one consolation. Jerusalem is counting on the US, and possibly other security council members such as Britain, which are fighting far bloodier counter - terror wars, will act to block any move to further single out and censure the Jewish state.

David Essing

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