Israel Resource Review 20th April, 2005


Israel Fears Regional War in 2006
Special Middle East News Line Report

[IMRA: If this indeed is the case then Prime Minister Sharon's current actions are proof positive that he does indeed operate within a 48 hour planning horizon. Someone wishing to prepare for a possible war in 2006 certainly wouldn't invite Egypt to station its army a few kilometers from Ashkelon - with attack helicopters, armored vehicles, anti-tanks missiles, etc., retreat from the Gaza Strip so that it can become what Israeli security people term a "land based Karine A" with rockets that will first reach Ashkelon and then Ashdod and then . . . and create a similar situation in northern Samaria.]

WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Israel has relayed its concern to the United States of the rising prospect of a Middle East war in 2006.

U.S. officials said Israel has determined that the expected U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2006 would raise tensions in the region that could lead to a Middle East war. The officials said the Israeli assessment asserted that Iran would either lead or play a major role in any future war against the Jewish state.

"It is the biggest nightmare of [Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon," a U.S. official said. "He has relayed repeated messages to the administration that Iran and its Arab allies were preparing for war."

Officials said Sharon has raised this issue with President George Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney and leaders of the U.S. intelligence community. They said Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz have assessed that an Iran emboldened with nuclear weapons and intermediate-range missiles was seeking to form a coalition against Israel for a war that could take place after a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

Sharon discussed Iran's nuclear weapons program during his visit to the United States last week. Officials said the prime minister, equipped with satellite photos, told Bush and Cheney that Iran has nearly reached the point of indigenous nuclear weapons capability. He said Iran still had several technical obstacles to overcome.

"Once they will solve it, that will be the point of no return," Sharon said in a U.S. television interview.

So far, the Bush administration has not supported Sharon's urging for an immediate response to Iran's nuclear weapons program. Officials said the administration has been supporting European Union diplomatic efforts for a permanent halt in Iranian uranium enrichment. They said the administration was prepared to give the EU until the end of 2005 to achieve its aim.

"We all have a shared concern and a shared goal, our shared goal is to make sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "That would be a very destabilizing factor in the region. We continue to support those [EU] diplomatic efforts to resolve this in a peaceful manner."

Israel has told the United States that Iran was developing nuclear warheads for ballistic and cruise missiles. Officials said Israel assessed that Iran would have indigenous nuclear capability by 2006.

Sharon was also said to have urged Bush for military support to ensure that Israel would receive the supplies and weapons required to deter or fight any Middle East war in wake of the unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. Officials said the prime minister asserted that Iran was encouraging Palestinian insurgency groups and Hizbullah to increase tensions along the southern and northern Israeli borders.

But officials said most of the U.S. intelligence community does not share the Israeli assessment of either an imminent Iranian nuclear threat or the prospect of a regional war in 2006. They said U.S. intelligence does not envision an Iranian nuclear bomb until at least 2010.

"Our intelligence community has used in the past an estimate that said that Iran was not likely to acquire a nuclear weapon before the beginning of the next decade," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on April 13. "That remains the case."

The U.S. priority in the Middle East, officials said, was for Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state. During his meeting with Sharon, officials said, Bush asserted that the establishment of a Palestinian democracy would result in regional stability.

"If you resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, you've resolved the problem with extremism," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. "You will not have resolved the problem with extremism. The only way that the problem with extremism gets resolved is if there is a competing ideology that is one based on freedom and liberty and tolerance."

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Commando Operation:
Gush Katif

Plans Revealed to Use Floor Plans of Homes to Invade and Evict Jews
Amir Rappaport
Correspondent, Maariv

As in daring situation assessments in distant places, the IDF and the police have obtained the floor plans of all the homes in the communities marked for evacuation in order to use them to break inside.

In the past, the IDF has used floor plans in cases where it was important to know the location of each room in the building so that they could take control of it as they did, for example, during the operation at Entebbe, and also during lesser-known operations.

Ma'ariv has learned that before disengagement, special efforts have been made to ensure that the floor plans of each home would be in the hands of the troops intended to break in. Incidentally, the task of obtaining the floor plans was not especially complicated since most of the homes marked for evacuation were built by the Ministry of Housing, which handed the floor plans over to the troops preparing for disengagement. Even buildings built privately were subject to due processes of approval and, therefore, the IDF and the police have floor plans.

The Israel Police have prepared the precise break-in plans for each home based on its floor plan. The police have prepared a file not only of the shape of the home but also the profile of each family living there and marked for evacuation. Meanwhile, the GSS has marked for the troops those homes where especially extreme opponents of evacuation might be found.

One can also learn how seriously the IDF and the police regard the operation of taking control of the settlement homes from the fact that before the final training, which will take place before the actual disengagement, a dummy settlement will be built on the Tzeelim national training base in which police officers and soldiers will practice the methods of action before the disengagement.

This piece ran in Maariv on April 20th, 2005

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IDF Snipers Trained:
"They Told Us to Aim at the Legs
Amir Rappaport, Correspondent

"They trained us to hit only the lower extremities," said a soldier from the IDF's sniper unit, who said he was supposed to be part of a special sniper force that the IDF has trained for disengagement. An interview with the sniper will be broadcast today on Avi Yaacobovitz's radio program "Response Time" on the the "Kol Hai" radio station.

The IDF soldier, whose name was not revealed in the interview, recounted that when the police and IDF vanguard are sent in unarmed, the sniper force is supposed to wait very close to the settlements about to be evacuated, but not inside.

If firefights or violent incidents, such as the taking security troops hostages, should occur, the snipers and elite units can be on the scene within a few minutes.

"We received orders not to use live ammunition but other means, and to aim for the limbs," the soldier, a reservist, said in the interview. He said that the IDF asked him to mobilize for the task so that the snipers behind the sights would be mature and level-headed, and not younger soldiers who might prove to have an itchy trigger finger.

Ma'ariv has learned that the special forces, which will be deployed for any violent development outside the settlements, will be subordinate to a special command led by Brig. Gen. Amos Ben Avraham, former commanding officer of Sayeret Matkal and today commanding officer of the IDF's command and staff academy. In addition to the snipers, these forces also contain a special police SWAT team together with selected elite units of the IDF that specialize in taking control over kidnappers, conducting negotiations and rescuing hostages.

IDF officials claimed that it was decided to use the most elite soldiers and snipers because they are trained for surgical action that will allow them to refrain from causing wide-scale casualties in case the use of weapons should be required. The officials said: "In everything connected to the inner circle of the evacuation, within the communities themselves, there is no intention for either the soldiers or the police officers to bear arms at all."

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