The two articles below, while reporting Barak’s assertions that any “separation” from land is 3-5 years away and dependent upon functionality of Kassam interception system, give short-shrift to the reality of the fallibility of any such system; i.e. in a massive attack, missiles will penetrate the system no matter what the level of functionality.
Beyond stating the obvious, that relinquishment or handing over of Jewish Land is based on the bogus demographics cover for severing Israeli connection for Jewish law, history, traditions and roots, it is axiomatic that Abba Eban’s famous Auschwitz borders pronouncement is at least as true now as it was when he made it in the UN. MB
Barak: No Difference Between Fatah and Hamas, by Hillel Fendel (Israel National News)
Labor Party Chairman and Prime Ministerial candidate Defense Minister Ehud Barak says peace with the PA is 3-5 years away, the peace process is just “air,” and that Fatah and Hamas are the same. He later denied the Fatah-Hamas comparison.
Ex-PM Barak is quoted… in a series of statements pouring cold water on the peace process with the Palestinian Authority. He sounded so right-wing that even a Knesset Member of Yisrael Beiteinu, the party headed by Avigdor Lieberman, congratulated Barak for his words.
… Barak said separation from the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria cannot be considered before a solution is found against Kassam rockets, “which is about 3-5 years away.” He was referring to a Kassam interception system that might neutralize the danger of Kassams from Judea and Samaria against the large chunk of Israeli population living on the coastal plain. Such a system is in the works in the Rafael Armaments Manufacturing Company, where it is said that the system will be ready within 18 months. Defense establishment sources say, however, that it will not be ready in the coming years.
“The Israelis have healthy intuition,” Ehud Barak said, “and they can no longer be fed fantasies of an imminent agreement with the Palestinians… No agreement can be made with the current Palestinian leadership, and Olmert’s meetings with [Fatah chief] Abu Mazen are just packaging and air, nothing more.”
Barak was also reported to have said that Hamas is just a “bunch of murderers,” and that there is no difference between Hamas and Fatah.
“We are interested in the peace process and the American summit [scheduled for November,” Barak told his fellow party MKs, “but we are still realistic. Our primary responsibility is to the citizens of Israel.” He also said that the checkpoints in Judea and Samaria would not be removed, despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s promises to Abu Mazen.
His words caused a political storm, as expected. MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) said he was happy to see that Barak had adopted his party’s views. On the extreme left, MK Dov Hanin of the mixed Arab-Jewish Hadash party said that Barak will bring Israel only “blood and tears.”
Barak later backtracked somewhat, denying he had compared Hamas and Fatah. He also said his views on the peace process “had not changed for years,” and that Abu Mazen and the new PA prime minister Salam Fayyad must be “strengthened.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak attributes great importance to speeding up the development of technological defenses against rocket fire on the home front, as he considers this a precondition for any significant withdrawal from the West Bank.
Such a withdrawal would put Israel’s main population centers in Kassam rocket range of the Palestinian Authority. Therefore, Barak believes, Israel must first develop and deploy an effective anti-missile system – a process that is expected to take three to five years.
Though Barak has declined to say so explicitly or to point an accusing finger at anyone, he has been unpleasantly surprised by what he has discovered about the Israel Defense Forces’ preparedness in the weeks since his return to the Defense Ministry. At a meeting yesterday with reservists from an armored brigade, one tank gunner told him that his current reserve duty is the first time he has seen an actual shell in five years. “No one will wait five years before the next exercise,” promised Barak, who believes that live-fire exercises are critical, as they are the closest thing to real combat.
Last week, Barak met with a group of brigade commanders and was surprised to hear some of them say that during last summer’s Lebanon war, they had faced difficult dilemmas when they weighed the “value of their missions” against the danger to soldiers’ lives. Barak, like other former generals, has been critical of some units’ failure to stick to their missions during that war, and he told the brigade commanders that this is not an issue they should even consider during wartime. A single brigade commander, he explained, lacks a clear picture of the entire front, and must therefore act on the assumption that his superiors have good reason for their orders.
Each commander, he added, must behave as if the outcome of the war depends on his actions alone.
Barak has also met recently with several of the retired officers who led the army’s in-house probes into the Second Lebanon War. Based on these meetings and his studies of the material, he has concluded that the biggest problem was the enormous difference between a real war and counterterrorism activity in the territories, coupled with the lack of an “institutional memory”: Israel’s last real war occurred 24 years ago, and the IDF no longer has any officers who remember what that was like.
Operations to arrest wanted terrorists, for instance, are often halted in the middle if a soldier is wounded, as evacuating him is considered to take priority. In war, however, such conduct would be beyond the pale: An assault must continue even if the unit suffers casualties.
On the more practical level, Barak’s main conclusion from the war is the need to improve the home front’s defenses against rockets. He envisions a multilayered system capable of intercepting anything from Iran’s long-range Shihab-3 missile to the short-range, relatively primitive Palestinian Qassams. Such a system would include an improved version of the Arrow anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept long-range missiles; the “Iron Dome” system designed by Rafael – the Armaments Development Authority, which is aimed at short-range missiles; and perhaps a laser-based system as well.
In the offensive realm, Barak considers it critical to improve the IDF’s maneuverability. He has already proposed to the cabinet that two new reserve divisions be created. These would include armored brigades, but would not require the purchase of many new tanks, as several units have been disbanded in recent years, and their tanks are still in IDF warehouses.
In addition, all tanks must be protected against the advanced antitank missiles now owned by Hezbollah and Syria. Spending $150,000 to armor a tank that costs $3 million is a good investment, Barak says.
Some of Barak’s proposals would require massive expenditures, so he is banking on the promised increase in American military aid.