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December 19, 2008: Briefly

December 19, 2008


Before Shabbat I offer these short items, some of which may be followed up later.

There has been no offer by Hamas to renew the “lull” and Hamas leaders have gone underground. Three Kassams have been fired this morning and terrorists shot at farmers near Kibbutz Nir Or. Dozens of Israeli armored vehicles have been deployed along the border with Gaza and the Gaza Division of the IDF is “ready for an escalation at a moment’s notice.”


Khaled Abu Toameh, in a Post article this morning, confirms what was my speculation yesterday: Things are so bad between Fatah and Hamas now that Abbas is hoping for a full invasion of Gaza by the IDF. So there goes that reason, long touted by Kadima and Labor, as to why an invasion would not be productive.


Of considerable concern is the possibility that Russia might sell the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran. An exceedingly advanced, sophisticated system, it would make our attack on Iran much more difficult. The Russians are hedging it right now in their statements, and efforts are afoot to prevent this from happening.


Happy news is that the incoming Obama administration is looking closely at the electric car project being developed here in Israel. According to Idan Ofer, chairman of Better Place, which is working on the car, the Americans might adopt it. It would serve the US in multiple ways with regard to dependency on oil, the environmental issues and the economy.


The very influential Congressman Howard Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has said in an interview here in Israel that the US should make concessions to Russia with regard to placement of a missile defense shield in Europe, in order to get Russia to back “crippling” concessions against Iran.

Berman’s idea is that talks with Iran should be limited, lasting no more than eight to 12 weeks, to prevent the Iranians from using talks as a cover for further nuclear development. After which, if talks were not successful, those crippling concessions would be put in place. He believes it would be easier to accomplish this if the world saw that Iran did not negotiate in good faith.

Berman also said that he thought the US should back Israel if we decide to attack Iran. American efforts to restrain Israel, he said, would only empower Hamas.




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