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

July 31 , 2007 Russians Support Abbas/ Top Defense Official Retires

Palestinian President Abbas is in Moscow. Abbas convinced Russian President Putin to recognize his government as the only legal representative of the Palestinian people. Putin has agreed to downgrade relations with Hamas. This has not stopped Putin from trying to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Hamas's Meshal. Abbas has refused any meeting, saying that as a precondition, Hamas must recognize the fact that they staged an illegal military takeover. Meanwhile, a slew of leaders are on their way to the Mid East to try to get the peace process going–– including Secretary of State Rice, who is expected in Israel tomorrow. Avi Dichter, Minister of Internal Security and former head of the Shin Bet warned that while he supports these initiatives, he believes we need to keep Abass' limitations in mind.

The lead story on Israeli TV tonight was a secret report that came out as a result of a near miss between two planes landing at Ben Gurion airport last February. The report claims the state of air traffic control at Ben Gurion is a total disaster, and that B.G. airport is 30 years behind the major commercial airports in the world. The report further stated it's purely a miracle that disaster has been avoided until now. A veteran Israeli pilot then stated that Ben Gurion is the only major airport where the landing is done visually, instead of by instrument. The pilot also declared that travelers should not worry, as greater distances between planes taking off and landing generally mediate the deficiencies at Ben Gurion airport. Of course, the fact that Israeli air routes are rather straightforward, with most flights coming in straight from the West and leaving straight that way probably has much to do with the safety of the flights.

Yechiel Chorev, the man who has held one of the most secretive jobs at the Defense Ministry (being in charge Foreign Intelligence for the last 19 years) retired today. In his final speech, Chorev reflected on some of the various cases he had to deal with, including Vannunu and Pollard. The interesting part of the speech, I felt, was his comments that the US is convinced Israel is still spying in the US. He stated to his American counterparts, if we were spying there would be some evidence. The Americans replied to Chorev, "your people are so good they do not leave evidence". Chorev stated in his speech if you spy there is always some evidence. The Americans claimed that they know from secret sources that spying is going on. Chorev's answer was that the Americans are being lied to by their sources. His speech took place with Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Barak and Chief of Staff Ashkenazi sitting next to him.