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Tuesday, December 28, 2010




Accountability

Last updated: December 28, 2010

August 24, 2006


Several years ago in the face of mounting suicide attacks the government finally gave up and began constructing the security fence. I have my own misgivings about the way it was done. In particular, I find plainly stupid the way Sharon has provoked the anger of the international community which could have been easily avoided, were the fence constructed along the 1967 border.

Nevertheless the fence without doubt was and is a great life saver. Has its construction been started earlier, hundreds of funerals could have been prevented.

I well remember politicians, from both right and left, dismissing the idea of the fence and claiming that the fence can not stop the terror, but only iron fist/settlements or negotiations/territorial compromises can.

The Channel One once interviewed Efraim Sneh from Avoda when he went to see one of the first stretches of the fence under construction. After having skeptically examined the fence he announced - This is not a solution of course. It can't stop the attacks.

Now it's hard to know how many attacks were prevented by the fence and how many people owe their lives to the fence. I hold many politicians directly responsible for the delay in its construction, the delay that happened to be fatal for many Israelis. I would like to see politicians like Sneh persecuted for criminal neglect of their duties towards the security of co-patriots. If not persecuted, then at least permanently expelled from the politics.

I can't remember one single politician from those who opposed the fence to appear later and admit that they were wrong. Actually I suspect that many of them had the security value of the fence very clear from the beginning and were opposing it for purely political and ideological reasons.

The right was opposing it because it looked as a de-facto recognition of the Palestinian state. Many in the left were opposing the very idea of the feance because at the time many leftists were still stuck with the idea of the new Middle East and opposed anything they perceived as isolationist policies on the part of Israel.

The 'Fence for Life' movement was campaigning for its construction for quite a while but it's only when the rate of suicide attacks reached 2-3 per day that the political elite was left with no other choice but to start fencing Israel off the West Bank. And, of course, as always they messed the whole thing by running the fence deep into the Palestinian territory, splitting many villages in two. It doesn't take a very big brain to figure out that if you are daily accused of being a semi apartheid neo-colonial entity, you should better keep a low profile and avoid bringing more troubles on your head. And so when Israel was dragged to the international court it came as no big surprise. Surprising was rather the disbelief and indignation displayed by Sharon and others at such a turn of the events.

It says a lot about the Israeli society that ordinary citizens never demanded accountability from their politicians and explanations why the construction of the fence was delayed for so long. I would have expected an investigation started from the moment it became obvious what an enormous price in terms of human lives the Israelis were made to pay by their politicians, left and right, for their political and ideological agendas.



The story of the fence was replayed before and during the last war in Lebanon. There was no intelligence missing about Hezbollah stockpiling thousands of short range Katyusha rockets over the last years. The increasing use and growing sophistication of Kassam rockets fired from Gaza was also obvious.

Nevertheless during the war there have been more than enough politicians and experts interviewed on all channels that claimed that no adequate protection against short range missiles exists and that this problem has only a political solution. Which basically means that if short range missiles reach the hands of Hamas or Hezbollah the only solution we have is to start a political dialog with them, ignoring the fact that the both groups are firmly committed to our destruction by the virtue of their very ideology.

These arguments are no more valid than were those dismissing the value of the fence as a shield against suicide bombers. The political and military establishment simply preferred to ignore the missile threat. To put it bluntly it's a lie.

To start with, Israel and US have been developing such an anti Katyusha system for years and during preliminary tests the system showed a lot of promise. The system, code-named Nautilus, was not only capable of intercepting short range katyusha rockets but it was also destroying mortars and artillery shells, shot both in single rounds and salvos.

Yet the Israeli government soon started cutting funding for the project until the US pulled out over disagreements about who pays how much of the costs. But the so called experts would be wasting their time, if they think that they can persuade anybody in this country that the project was stopped because its laser based implementation proved to be technically impossible. The Northrop Grumman that participated in the project on the US side, has been pursuing it later on its own and released a fully operational system this year.

Moreover, it was reported that the company later approached Israel's government offering the system as a protection for Israeli towns against Kassam and Katyusha attacks. I want to draw the attention of anyone reading these lines to the fact that the SkyGuard has apparently become available shortly before the war, but it never occurred to Halutz and Olmert to urgently airlift a few such systems to, at least, protect some of our most sensitive spots like Haifa's chemical industry. And the reason is probably the same one why it never occurred to them to do something about thousands of people trapped in shelters in Kiryat Shmone, Naharia and other towns across the north. But whatever was their reason, one thing is clear and it's that some people in this country should go to jail.

The bottom line is that the political and military elite should not be allowed to get away with bearing full responsibility this time. We can forgive them the delay with the fence as a one time blunder. But the threat of short range missiles, mortars and similar weapons coming from Gaza and South Lebanon has become too obvious recently to justify the mismanagement of the Nautilus project and the absence of any other attempt to address the issue of the Kassam and Katyusha rockets.

It's not only Nasrallah whom we should hold responsible for hundreds of homes damaged and destroyed and dozens of civilians killed and wounded. There are some people on our side too who should be held even more responsible for what happened. If only for the reason that they are living in the same country as we do and we vote for them and pay them our taxes not because we want to see these imbeciles later producing lame excuses for their ineptness, unprofessionalism and plain stupidity.


December 28, 2010

Four years later...

Jan 11, 2010

"We cannot create the illusion that tomorrow morning there will be full protection for the Gaza periphery or the North, or elsewhere," Barak said at the Defense Ministry on Monday.

"It will take years before we are fully equipped. But in the coming years, Iron Dome will doubtlessly become part of the IDF's defense mechanisms for the citizens and civilians on the home front, as well as for military sites."

Source: JPost


Dec 1, 2010

Active rocket protection systems, such as the Iron Dome and Arrow, are designed to protect IDF offensive capabilities, and not necessarily civilians, Northern Command Chief Major-General Gadi Eizenkot said Tuesday.

Eizenkot stressed that "the residents of Israel shouldn't be under the illusion that someone will open an umbrella over their heads."

During a speech at the University of Haifa the military official said that "the systems are designed to protect military bases, even if this means that citizens suffer discomfort during the first days of battle."

Source: JPost

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Ehud Barak - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense

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