A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
October 31, 2011- Knesseet Sessions Opens to Backdrop of Rockets and Concerns About Iran
The winter session of the Knesset opened today. A few weeks ago the expectations was certainly that the opening sessions would be dominated by social issues and a response to the protest movement. Furthermore, two months ago the predictions were that the Netanyahu government would enter this session weakened. Of course, none of this has happened. This Knesset session has open against the backdrop of continued rocket fire on the South, and with the Iranian issue, once again, on everyone's minds. In addition, in the aftermath of the release of Gilad Shalit, Netanyahu enjoys unprecedented popularity.
The rocket fire continues this evening, with three Grad missiles fired at Beersheva; two of which were intercepted by Iron Dome, and a third rocket which fell in an open field, causing no harm. Sderot was also attacked. It's not at all clear how and when this round of rocket fire will come to an end. Tonight, the IDF Chief of Staff is meeting with all of his commanders to develop some alternative strategies.
Meanwhile, since last Friday a widening public debate has developed on the question of attacking Iran. On Friday morning Nachum Barnea, one of the most respected political commentators in this country wrote a front page article, in Yediot Achronot, warning of the possibility that Defense Minister Barak and Prime Minister Netanyahu would decide to carry out an attack on Iran, on their own, despite the opposition of the whole security leadership. According to Barnea, the current and past head of the Mossad, the Shin Bit the IDF and the army intelligence all oppose an attack. However, Netanyahu and Barak favor the attack. In today's opening session opposition leader Livni warned Netanyahu to listen to his military advisors. Of course, this all may be a ruse to create pressure on the west to increase its pressure on Iran, lest Israel attack.
Israel suffered a diplomatic defeat today, when UNESCO granted the Palestinians full membership, as a nation state.
Finally, the bloodshed continues in Syria, with Assad unable to gain control of the situation. It has turned into a full fledged Civil War. Experts in Israel believe that at this point, its only a question of how and when the Assad regime will fall.