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Times Square & Israeli Security

IDF General Amos Gilboa: 'Israel Cannot Compromise On Security In Proximity Talks With Palestinians'

IsraCast Assessments #1: Risky Israeli Security Concessions To Palestinians Will Lead To 'Times Square' Car Bombing Scenarios In Israeli Cities

#2: New IDF Intelligence Estimate Portrays Latest Syrian Missiles To Hezbollah In Lebanon As A Clear & Present Danger To Israel

Binyamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 Barring unforeseen circumstances, the long awaited proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians will get underway on May 5th, when U.S. envoy George Mitchell meets with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in Jerusalem. At week's end, middleman Mitchell will then drive for less than half an hour to Ramallah on the West Bank to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. IsraCast analyst David Essing says the recent Times Square car bomb will strengthen Israel's resolve to stand firm on security in face of Islamist terrorism. On the eve of the proximity talks, IDF intelligence has revealed a new dimension of Hezbollah's missile buildup in Lebanon that appears to be a clear and present danger to the Jewish state.

'There is no room for compromise on Israeli security' in the proximity talks' that statement came from IDF Gen. Amos Gilboa, a senior Defense Ministry official. Gilboa, a senior aide to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, did not refer to the recent Times Square car bomb in New York, but it served as an obvious example of the continual threat posed by Islamist terrorism. Although the IDF has recently eased roadblocks and security restrictions on the West Bank, the Israeli side will be leery about any easing of security measures that might be exploited by the terrorists who are bent on torpedoing any progress in peace making. Clearly, a 'successful' car bombing, of the Times Square variety, in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv would put paid to any Israeli- Palestinian peace moves. Therefore the prevention of all Palestinian terror attacks is also of critical importance to West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas, no less than any new Israeli building plans for east Jerusalem.

President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Amit Shabi)

Although sporadic rocketing of Israeli towns and villages continues from Hamas controlled Gaza, Gen. Gilboa said that in 2009 the situation was quiet along the West Bank front. Was this due to increased security cooperation with Palestinian security forces in Judea & Samaria? The General told Israel Radio that it was not so much Palestinian-Israeli cooperation that had done the trick. In his view, the Palestinian Authority at long last, had finally realized that it was in a life or death struggle with Hamas - if the PA did not defeat Hamas forces on the West Bank, Hamas would defeat them, as they had in Gaza during the bloody coup of 2006.

When asked if Prime Minister Netanyahu had in fact given the U.S. quiet assurances on east Jerusalem, Gilboa dodged the question said he could not do so.

Mounting missile threat from Lebanon: On the eve of the proximity talks, a senior IDF intelligence officer has painted a grim picture of the flow of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon from Syria and Iran. Brig.Gen. Yossi Bidatz, the head of the research unit in the IDF intelligence branch said that recent reports about surface to surface missiles to Hezbollah was only 'a tip of the iceberg!' In his briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Bidatz did not even mention the word SCUDS, indicating that more advanced sophisticated missiles were involved. He went on to say: 'Hezbollah now has an arsenal of thousands of rockets of various types and ranges, including solid-fuel long range. (The solid-fuel missiles are much harder to find because they can be brought out of their hiding places and launched immediately, making them very difficult to locate and take out from the air -DE).

Hezbollah Terrorists

These longer range missiles enabled Hezbollah to deploy them at launch sites deep inside Lebanon and their ranges were far greater than anything they had in the past. The intelligence officer concluded: ' Hezbollah model 2010 has a far different military capability than in 2006'. He went on to say that thousands of Hezbollah fighters were now deployed south of the Litani River in some 100 Lebanese villages. This as was the missile supply, was in violation of UN Security council Resolution 1701. If this was the bad news, Bidatz added for fear of the outcome, Hezbollah was not interested in a wide-scale confrontation with Israel. Israeli military commentators have warned that the missile buildup in Lebanon presents a clear and present danger because Hezbollah can try and hit Israeli air bases and other strategic targets all over the Jewish state. So much for international guarantees such as UN Security Council resolutions and the like when it comes to Israel's security, a lesson that should have been learned from past experience and surely must for the future.

Several months ago, Jane's Defence Weekly disclosed that Syria had supplied Hezbollah with Syrian produced M-600 surface to surface missiles capable of hitting every target in Israel. This is a copy of an Iranian missile with a range of 250 kilometers that carries a significant payload of 500 kilograms. Israeli leaders were said to have raised this new threat in contacts with their American and European counterparts. Israel has warned that the Lebanese government bears full responsibility for the situation. Apparently in response, U.S. President Barack Obama has extended U.S. sanctions on Syria for another year defining Syria as a ' terror state'. He accused Damascus of trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and of supporting terror organizations. Syrian President Bashar Assad is walking on two-tracks at present. On one, he talks of a peace agreement if Israel agrees to his pre-conditions. However on the other, Assad is playing with fire by supplying Hezbollah with sophisticated missiles that present a clear and present danger to the Jewish state.

David Essing

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