Jerusalem – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is to leave for Moscow tomorrow to discuss Russia’s involvement in the the Middle East.

Ms. Livni will be hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The two will discuss Russia’s decision to host an international peace conference in April that is to be attended by state officials.

According to reports received in Jerusalem, the United States would consider lifting its opposition to the conference in Russia, provided Russia imposes stricter economic sanctions on Iran.

Israeli officials were pleased that Russian President Vladimir Putin had issued instructions not to supply Iran and Syria with the most advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. The missile system is capable of intercepting a large number of planes and ballistic missiles simultaneously.

Missile experts said the weapons system is capable of overcoming some of the jamming systems installed on Israeli Air Force planes in order to provide the planes with protection against threats from the ground.

Three weeks ago, the Iranian Defense Minister said Russia had undertaken to supply Iran with the advanced weapons system. Israeli officials were afraid that Russia would sell the missiles to the Syrians too, which could place IAF jets in the entire region at risk.

In response to the Israeli and American requests, that it would not be supplying any weapons systems that would upset the strategic balance in the Middle East.

IDF Attacks 10 Terrorists, Kills Five

Yesterday morning, about 10 Palestinian terrorists were hit by fire from Israeli Defense Forces infantry and Armored Corps forces.

Five Palestinian terrorists were killed. In the latest incident, an Air Force craft fired at a car inside of which were a number of armed men. Their condition is not known.

Barak Stings Olmert: Words Don’t Stop Missiles

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak chose on?Monday to sting Israeli Prime Minister Olmert.

A short time after Mr. Olmert told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, “Israel will not be able to accept a nuclear Iran, and all the options are being considered,” Mr. Barak came out with the following: “words don’t stop missiles, and declarations don’t stop centrifuges” [rhymes in Hebrew].

The Israel Labor Party chairman added at a meeting of his faction, “we shouldn’t talk so much about this. Everyone would do better to talk as little as possible on this subject. In this matter, we have to focus on doing.” Labor Party sources said that Mr. Barak thinks that Mr. Olmert spoke “above and beyond” on the Iranian matter.

Mr. Barak also added, “Iran is indeed a major threat both to Israel and to the world, and there is a lot that can be done about the Iranian threat, including strengthening the intelligence effort and also in the realm of sanctions, prevention, and diplomatic activity as well as the other options that remain on the table.”

The prime minister later said in a Israel Kadima Party faction meeting, “President Bush said things about Iran that were impressive in their clarity and accuracy: Iran was a threat, remains a threat and will continue to be a threat. We spoke many hours about this subject in the course of his visit, and the subject was also mentioned at the dinner I held with all the deputy prime ministers. Nobody is giving up on this battle, which includes harsh sanctions that we know already today are having an effect on Iran internally and they further strengthen the pressure being employed today internationally.”

At the Knesset Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mr. Olmert related to the results of the Second Lebanon War, two weeks before the publication of the Winograd Lebanon War Investigative report, and said that he would be happy if southern Israel were as quiet as northern Israel. “The question is not if Hezbollah has missiles, but if they want to fire them,” he said.

“To the best of my judgment, Hezbollah does not want, at this time, to shoot them, as a result of the war.”

Mr. Olmert added that the Katyusha rocket fire at Shlomi last week was carried out by international terror elements, as he called them, and said there was no indication that this would become routine.

Committee members said that Mr. Olmert meant that the organization that fired the rockets was not connected to Hezbollah.

This reporter covered an event in February 2005 in which Mr. Olmert, then the deputy prime minister, declared that even though the Hezbollah had 6,000 missiles they had not and would not fire them.

‘Humanitarian Aid’ To Gaza Proves To Be Explosives

Two tons of fertilizer, which can be used to manufacture Kassam rockets and bombs, were seized on Monday at the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip .

The substance was found on board a truck that was supposed to be transporting basic food stuffs. Instead, the truck was laden with “double-use” materials that often serve as a substitute for explosives and fuel.

On Monday afternoon, The Israel Airports Authority inspectors carried out a routine inspection of the trucks that passed through the terminal.

The suspicious substances were identified and the incident was referred to the Israel Police and the security establishment.

Israeli Security officials said that this was the second incident in this past week in which terror organizations have tried to smuggle this type of substance into the Gaza Strip to facilitate the construction of Kassam rockets, which are then fired on a daily basis into Israel. The substances are transported into the Gaza Strip on board trucks that are supposed to be shipping innocuous commodities, such as sugar or salt.

Early this week, the IDF authorized a large shipment of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. The central shipment entered via the Erez crossing and was comprised of medicines for joint ailments, thousands of sedatives, medicines for cancer patients, antibiotics and thousands of bottles of medicine for people with blood diseases.

The IDF Commander of the Gaza region, Colonel Nir Peres also authorized the entry of trucks transporting other medical equipment into the southern Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing, at the request of the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Colonel Peres said that trucks full of medical equipment and medicine were continuing to make their way regularly into the Gaza Strip at all times. “All of the requests to allow the entry of medicines by the international organizations and by the Palestinian side are handled immediately and enter via the Kerem Shalom crossing and, depending on need, through the Erez crossing too.”

Sderot Residents: ‘If Olmert Won’t Give Us Hope – Let Him Evacuate Us’

As reported above, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared on Monday at the Israeli Knesset Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and ruled out a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, sparking great anger among Sderot residents. “If he won’t give hope to the residents, let him evacuate us, just like he evacuated Gush Katif, as part of the evacuation-compensation law,” said the chairman of the Sderot Parents Committee, Sasson Sara who emphatically demanded that Mr. Olmert, “put the keys on the table and let other people handle terror. You are incapable of handling the urgent problems, so resign.”

Ms. Sara said that it could be understood from Mr. Olmert’s statements that he was giving a green light to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to continue to fire Kassam rockets at the region. “He is telling us that this is a decree from heaven? If it is our fate to live with Kassam rockets, then why not evacuate us?” he asked.

“There’s only talk all the time, doesn’t he know that life and Death are in the power of the tongue,” said Rina Mor Yosef, a Sderot resident. “they are not arming in the Gaza Strip to build a theater, and one day this will blow up in our face and the price will be greater.”

The Sderot residents’ fury was sparked by Mr. Olmert’s statement at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where he said that what Israel is doing in Gaza should not be made light of. “A war is going on there and we are waging it wisely,” he said. “I recommend that we not get entangled in operations whose costs are not in proportion to the constraints we are under, and I do not make light of the seriousness, the significance and the pain they cause.”

The prime minister explained that the IDF is acting in the Gaza Strip and had struck hundreds of armed men. “I think that the hundreds of those killed in Gaza this past year among the terror organizations are not a small price for the terror organizations,” he said. “We will not stop this activity, we will fight wisely and accurately, not with fiery rhetoric and declarations.” He also stressed that if he reached the conclusion that that a large-scale operation in Gaza were necessary, “we will do this, but we don’t have to work ourselves up into a frenzy.”

While it was quiet in Sderot and in the Gaza periphery communities on Monday, eight mortar shells were fired at the Erez and Netiv Haasara area on Saturday and on Sunday, one of which fell between houses in Netiv Haasara and caused damage.

By some miracle, no one was injured.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.