Israeli News: A Daily Analysis

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 1, 2009--17 Missiles Fall on Israel, Iran Has Enough Uranium for a Bomb

Seventeen missiles, including long-range Grad missiles, landed on Israel yesterday and today. Prime Minister Olmert warned of a painful response. So far nothing has been done. There are many possible reasons for that. First it is reported that Minister of Defense Barak has stated that the weather is stopping any action. It has been very bad rainy weather this week. On the good side the Sea of Galilee rose more yesterday than in any day but one in history, but it does limit Israel’s potential military response to some degree.

There is also accusation within the cabinet that Barak is doing what he did before just delaying because he wants an agreement reached. Complicating the situation is the fact that negotiations are moving forward regarding Gilad Shalit. Furthermore, there is a major meeting of donors to rebuild Gaza tomorrow in Sharm el Sheik and it is probably not in Israel’s interest to be bombing Gaza while that is taking place. Beyond everything else it would seem that Olmert is not willing to reach an agreement with Hamas, and thus it will be up to the next government to untangle this Gordian knot.

In a television interview on CNN today, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Staff Michael Mallin in a stated that Iran now has enough uranium to produce an atomic bomb. There are some questions regarding the issue in terms of whether he meant e nough uranium that is fully enriched bomb grade or enough regular enriched uranium that could now be further enriched to produce a bomb. There is only a small difference between the two. In the first case it means that Iran could produce a bomb at any time, while in the second case it could take them up to another year for this to take place. Mallin made it clear that this was very troubling and endangers US security interests.

There was another meeting today between Hamas and Fatah towards establishing a unity government. The meeting went well; both sides want to look like they are cooperating, and for the moment Hamas is saying that it is willing to make concessions. This is occurring with an eye to the donors' conference that will be taking place tomorrow. The money is going to be handed over to Fatah. While the initial taking seems fruitful, most observers expect it to explode at some point in the not to distant future. Abu Mazen stated that any unity government would have to agree to all earlier agreements including the fact that the only solution to the Palestinian national problem is a two state solution. What irony that both the Palestinians and the Israelis would like unity governments, but in both cases the failure of one of the major parties to accept the concept of a two state solution is what is standing in the way of such governments.

Another indictment is going20to be issued against Olmert in the case of Talansky. The accusation is that is Olmert received cash from Talanskly without reporting it. They are going to indict Shula Zaken, the head of Olmert’s office, as well.