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SDEROT PAYS FOR PALESTINIAN TALKS

Moshe Arens: 'Israeli government makes Sderot civilians pay for negotiations with Palestinians by refusal to reinvade Gaza'

Latest IDF figures indicate some 1,700 rockets and mortars have been fired at Sderot since Hamas takeover of Gaza last June

Moshe Arens: 'Latest American N.I.E will make it more difficult for U.S President to act militarily against Iran but Israel has been on its own before'

Former Defense Minister Prof. Moshe Arens

Moshe Arens, a former Israeli Defense and Foreign Minister, accuses the Israeli government of making Sderot civilians pay the price for the political process with the Palestinians. Arens was interviewed by IsraCast after IDF figures revealed that Palestinians fired some 3,500 Qassam rockets and mortars from Gaza, mainly at Sderot, since the total Israeli withdrawal in the summer of 2005. Moreover, since the Hamas takeover of Gaza last June, some 1,700 mortars and rockets have been fired at Sderot. Asked to comment on the recent American National Intelligence Estimate that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 Arens said intelligence assessments are often wrong and Israel must act in its own best interest.

Article on Haaretz by Moshe Arens, December 18, 2007

The people of Sderot are being held hostage for Israel's ongoing political process with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. That's the view of a former Israeli Defense and Foreign Minister Moshe Arens after official statistics indicated that some 1,700 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza at Sderot since the Hamas takeover last June. The children and adults of Sderot have all of 15 seconds to reach bomb-shelters after early warning sirens go off. Since the total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in the summer of 2005, the Palestinians have launched some 3,500 rockets and missiles from Gaza.

Rockets fired at Israel (only Qassam)
2001 4
2002 35
2003 155
2004 281
2005 179 (disengagement year)
2006 946
2007 783

In protest to what he saw at the Israeli governments failure to halt the bombardment, Sderot's mayor Elie Moyal resigned this week but later reconsidered after a direct appeal from Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Moshe Arens charges that the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have given Hamas and the Islamic Jihad a free hand to rocket Sderot at will because Israel does not want to jeopardize the American sponsored peace-talks. Arens also rejects comments by Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak who seem to be saying that a major IDF ground operation into Gaza would prove to be more costly and not cost-effective. Arens contended this was ludicrous in light of the fact that Sderot civilians were being terrorized by rockets day and night.

When Arens was asked if the U.S National Intelligence estimate has now left Israel on its own to cope with a nuclear armed Iran, Arens replied that intelligence assessments often prove to be wrong and are changed from time to time. It was clear, and the N.I.E concurred, that Iran was 'hell-bent' on producing enriched uranium which was suitable only for nuclear weapons. He went on to say that Israel had been on its own before U.S President Bush raised the alarm over Iran's nuclear drive. In any case, the recent N.I.E would make it more difficult for the U.S President to act against Iran. Arens concluded that if he were Defense Minister today he would order Israel's intelligence community to make the most accurate assessment as possible of Iran's nuclear program.

David Essing

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