Friday, February 02, 2007

Israel Alone (2)

The political battle around Israel's defense against Kassam and Katyusha rockets suggests its pols expect a US arms embargo.

Short range missile defense options are:

- C-RAM, a battle tested US system that's available now. It's short range, but very effective for point defense.

- THEL, a US-developed laser weapon that would cost several billions to deploy but be effective against all targets and - with its 5 Km range - provide area defense.

- an Israeli developed anti-missile rocket.

The Defense Minister just opted for the third solution, even though it will take 2 years to deploy (my emphasis):
The system chosen by the defense minister is dubbed “Iron Dome”, manufactured by RAFAEL Armament Development Authority Ltd.

"Israel requires an additional security layers for the home front that will allow for more political freedom and provide more security for the population," Peretz said.
That's probably triggered by this:
A preliminary report by the American government has confirmed allegations Israel used American-made cluster bombs against civilian targets during last year's war in Lebanon in violation of an agreement with Washington.

The findings of the US state department's initial inquiry, which was passed to Congress, showed Israel broke an undertaking only to use the weapons against military targets.

"There were likely violations," said Sean McCormack, the state department spokesman.
Hizbollah launched all of its rockets from civilian areas, so State is being its usual slimy self in condemning Israel's "violations". As it happens, the Israelis make their own - rather better - cluster munitions. If they didn't they'd now be facing a US embargo of a crucial homeland defense against Hizbollah's next attack.

But now the Prime Minster has intervened on the missile defense issue
Defense Minister Amir Peretz's decision to choose a short-range rocket defense system developed by Rafael - Israel's Armament Development Authority - as the system the defense establishment will develop to defend Israel against Kassam rockets has apparently sparked off a new argument between him and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Olmert is probably objecting because Condoleezza Rice told him to - his recent transfer of $100 million to the Palestinians while they continue to rocket Israel only makes sense as a response to State pressure.

RAFAEL should develop the weapon whatever Olmert decrees. Eventually the Israelis will replace him with a more robust leader who will buy the weapon. Plus it will make a great export.