Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

October 19 , 2007 Olmert in Moscow- Iranian Threat..

Yesterday Prime Minister Olmert rushed to Russia to meet President Putin. His goal was to convince Putin to agree to greater sanctions on Iran. Putin made it clear that he would not agree and stated that Iran is a strategic ally of Russia, and made it clear that no one should attack it. It is clear that OlmertŐs task regarding Iran was almost impossible to accomplish. Israeli sources stated that in addition to meeting Putin regarding Iran, Olmert also wanted to share some secret intelligence regarding Syria. Olmert hopes to stop a major arms deal between Russia and Syria.

Where does this leave us? Two days ago President Bush claimed that if Iran gets the bomb, it could lead to World War III. Putin is clearly not going to do very much to stop it and America is also very unlikely to take military action. So, it will be up to Israel to either live with the bomb or take action.

On Wednesday Ephraim Halevy, the former head of the Mossad, published an article in which he stated that Iran having the nuclear bomb does not pose an existential threat to Israel. In an interview that I saw last night, he explained that Ayatollah Houmemei published a Fatwa in 1985 that stated that the most important religious duty of the Iranian leaders to ensure the continuity of the country and the revolution. According to Halevy, the Iranians know that if they attack Israel with nuclear weapons they will be destroyed and therefore they will not act. Maybe this is true, but it is a thin reed to base national existence on.

The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams have been meeting. The Palestinians had claimed that they would call off the negotiations if an agreement of understanding was not reached. Today, they said that negotiations are going fine, and they are happy with the progress. Secretary of State Rice lowered expectations today when she made it clear that the upcoming peace conference was not a final peace conference, just the beginning of the process to reach a final agreement. If the expectations are realistic, it may actually end up being a positive process

On a lighter note, yesterday the high ranking officers of the IDF engaged in a 'sport day'. They all showed up at the Wingate Institute to compete. Much to everyoneŐs surprise the Intelligence Branch reached highest overall scores. The winner in ping-pong was the Commander of the Air force.