Jerusalem – Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak held talks on Tuesday at the Pentagon with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on ways to meet the threat from Iran.
The main topic of their high level meeting was the Iranian nuclear threat. Mr. Barak and Mr. Gates have been friends since Mr. Gates was director of the CIA, when Mr. Barak was the director of the IDF Intelligence Branch.
A source in the Israeli Defense Minister’s Bureau said in his talks with Mr. Gates, Mr. Barak raised the need for a multi-layer defense system to intercept missiles. The official meeting, with the aides present, lasted about half an hour, and then Mr. Gates and Mr. Barak had a private conversation lasting 40 minutes.
While Mr. Barak has been avoiding the media, mainly due to the sensitive nature of the Iranian issue, members of the Israeli Knesset Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, who are also in Washington, have made no secret of their dissatisfaction with what they have heard in the U.S. capital about its handling of the Iranian nuclear issue. At the end of a meeting with senior officials in the State Department and the National Security Council, the Israeli parliamentarians expressed the fear that the United States does not intend to take military action against the Iranian threat.
Member of Knesset Avigdor Yitzhaki a former director of the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office, said after the meeting with the National Security Council at the White House: “I did not see in their eyes a passion to crush this thing. They all think it is an Israeli issue. I think the present administration will not take action. I think it is already hinting that it will pass the buck to the next administration and that this will serve its interests in the election campaign. We are not about to witness a dramatic move.”
Israeli Army Operations In Search
Of Gaza Tunnel Lose A Soldier
The Israeli army operated on Tuesday night and throughout yesterday in search of tunnels and against various terror threats in the southern Gaza Strip.
During the activity an Israeli Defense Forces soldier, Staff Sergeant Ben Kubany, 20, from Hadera was killed in fire exchanges with Palestinian gunmen. The soldier, hit by gunfire, was taken to Suroka hospital in Be’er Sheve where he later died of his wounds.
As a part of the activity the Israeli forces also carried out an aerial attack and hit several Palestinian gunmen who were identified advancing toward the forces.
In several other incidents Palestinians fired mortar shells and anti-tank missiles at the soldiers, who fired back at the Palestinian gunmen and claimed hitting them.
In a statement issued by the Israeli military spokesman, “The IDF will continue to operate along the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip in order to repel the terrorist organizations, led by the Hamas, and prevent them from executing terrorist activity in the Israeli home front.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter called yesterday for Israel to embark on a large-scale military campaign in the Gaza Strip.
“We can either send the army into the Palestinian territories or face suicide belts in Tel Aviv,” Israeli Army Radio quoted Mr. Dichter as saying.
Al-Aksa Chief Killed In Nablus
It has been released that on Monday, Israeli soldiers killed Bassal Abu-Sariye, head of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of the Fatah, in Nablus, and wounded two of his followers. Two other senior terrorists on the wanted list were captured. One of them was from Hamas and the other from the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
The two fugitives were hiding in an arms cache which the soldiers uncovered. Mr. Abu-Sariye’s legs were blown off and he died shortly after being taken to Rafidiye hospital in Nablus. His two aides were seriously wounded.
Mr. Abu-Sariye, known as “el-Kadaffi,” was the founder of the “Faresel-Leil” cell of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah. The Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades threatened to exact a heavy toll from Israel to avenge his death.
Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, who is the also chairman of the Fatah, condemned the attack and asked visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to stop further Israeli actions of this nature in the future.
Another Missing Soldier
Yona Baumel, an American Israeli citizen and father of Zechariya Baumel, one of three Israeli soldiers who has been missing since the 1982 “Peace of the Galilee” battle at Sultan Yaakub, declared yesterday that he has evidence his son is in Syria and was alive until two years ago. In an interview with Israel Army Radio, Mr. Baumel said the cooperation which he has received from the security establishment has been minimal. “We know that someone who has to crawl on the ground is worth less than a pilot,” said Mr. Baumel
©The Bulletin 2007