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The Lekarev Report - Israel News July 29, 2008

26 Tammuz 5768
July 29, 2008 
7620209_wh.jpgMajor Water Crisis in Israel

The Knesset's State Control Committee ordered the formation of a State commission of inquiry Monday in order to investigate the causes for the major water crisis Israel faces.


The motion to form a State commission of inquiry - a rare move by the Control Committee - was carried 12 to 15, with no objections.  State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, whose support is needed to form any State commission of inquiry, gave his unequivocal support for the move. 

The future commission is to be tasked with investigating the failures that led the various Israeli governments to disregard dozens of reports and recommendations drafted by professional committees formed throughout the years and compiling a series of short and long-term recommendations that would ensure that Israel's water supply would remain intact.

"The water crisis is the result of a series of governmental failures.  Over the years, the governments chose to give precedence to immediate financial considerations over allocating the necessary funds to create desalination facilities, rehabilitating the water aquifers, implementing an effective water-economizing plan and reclaimed drainage water. 

"I can only hope this commission will operate with the due urgency and submit recommendations that could be implemented immediately," said Orlev. 
National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer added that Israel "is in the midst of the biggest water crisis it has ever known. The 2007-2008 droughts were severe, and we only got about 65% of the expected rainfall.
 
Barak Warns American Officals About Iran

During meetings with senior officials in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the Americas of the growing threat posed by Iran. In Lebanon, Barak said, th's relentless drive for nuclear weapons. 

Iranian backed Hizbollah has about tripled its missile arsenal in the past two years, Barak told US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  "Iran's plan to enhance its strength endangers the stability of the region and of the entire world. We insist that the pace of economic and financial sanctions on the Iranians continue to be increased."

As was made clear by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi in his meetings with U.S. officials last week, Barak repeated the mantra that "no single option should be taken off the table" when it comes to blocking Iran's nuclear weapons program.  The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, also took part in the meeting. 

In a later meeting with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Minister Barak reiterated his views on the security issues Israel is currently facing and their impact on the region and on the U.S.

Today Barak will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI).


livni_tzipi.jpgLivni: It's Nothing Personal

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said today that she would beat Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the upcoming Kadima primary should he decide to run.

In an interview with Army Radio, Livni said, "If the prime minister decides to run in the Kadima primary, which doesn't seem reasonable to me, I will beat him."

The foreign minister rejected also claims of rivalry between herself and the prime minister saying that although she had "nothing personal against Olmert," the process within the Kadima faction was intended to replace him.

"The time for the public to regain faith in politics," Livni went on, "I hope people haven't given up yet. I have said this from the outset, and it's Olmert's decision. The public is tired of him."

When questioned about assessments that she did not have enough experience to fill the post of prime minister, Livni claimed that she had "made decisions under pressure," and that she possessed "all the qualifications to be prime minister.".


domeinte.jpgIDF Begins Using Laser Defense Near Gaza
Alongside production of the Iron Dome interceptor, Rafael is also in the midst of developing a solid-based laser system that is believed to be the future in short-range missile interception.   The Jerusalem Post has learned that a prototype of the model is already used by the IDF Southern Command to detonate explosive devices planted alongside the border fence.

"With the laser, there is no need to send troops across the border to destroy the bomb," one official explained.

The Defense Ministry is also closely following the development of a Star Wars-like laser beam system recently ordered by the United States government to help defend troops operating in Iraq and Afghanistan under the threat of short-range rockets and mortar shells.

Called the Laser Air Defense System (LADS), the platform is under development by Raytheon in the US and was put on display earlier this month at the Farnborough defense expo in England.

Israeli defense officials said that the Defense Ministry's Research and Development Directorate was closely tracking the development of the system and that if it was operational before the Iron Dome - currently under development by Rafael Defense Systems - it was possible that Israel would purchase it to help defend against mortars and Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

ap_abbas_mubarak_210.jpgEgypt Seeks To Reconcile Palestinian Factions

According to the Palestinian daily paper, Al-Quds, Egypt is about to invite warring Palestinians (Fatah and Hamas) to Cairo to patch up their differences.

IN a meeting on Sunday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discussed the recent escalation in violence between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.   An explosion had claimed the lives of five Hamas operatives and a six-year-old girl two days earlier. Hamas blamed Fatah for the attack and has since arrested more than 160 Fatah members in Gaza.

Predictably, Fatah-controlled security organizations arrested dozens of Hamas members in the West Bank.  A Hamas-ordered investigation claims they have proof that Fatah orchestrated the attack. 

"We will continue the negotiations even if the chances for reconciliation are one in a hundred," 'Abbas said following his meeting with Mubarak.   'Abbas further asserted that during the talks the factions would also discuss terms for the swap of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for Hamas terrorists in Israeli jails.    

Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of prisoners, including dozens of Hamas members of Parliament, who were arrested in the wake of the kidnapping of Shalit. The movement also demands the release of prisoners who have committed murderous attacks against Israelis.  

It is reported that Israeli and Hamas delegations were expected to hold separate talks with Egyptian intelligence officials brokering negotiations between the parties.  The planned talks were described as an attempt to initiate an "intensive" dialogue that will result in a prisoner exchange.  

However, don't hold your breath.  Hamas can easily use its delay tactics, particularly if Israel does not agree in advance to all of Hamas' demands, which include the strengthening of the truce in the Gaza Strip; the opening of the borders between Gaza and Israel; and Israel's acceptance of the list of prisoners that Hamas submitted to the Israelis a few months ago.
 
3_hh.jpgOlmert Aides Enroute to Syria Talks

Two Olmert advisers,  Shalom Turjeman and Yoram Turbowitz - are enroute to Turkey to resume the talks with Syrian representatives, a source told reporters on condition of anonymity.
"Israel's desire for peace is very serious," the official said. "That is why we expect that the process that has been begun will soon evolve into direct bilateral negotiations with a view to achieving significant results."

However, official Syrian sources denied any possibility of Syria and Israel holding direct peace talks in the near future.

According to the sources, the disagreements between the countries remain substantial, despite the three rounds of indirect talks sponsored by Turkey.

The Israeli-Syrian talks started in May after an eight-year freeze.  Under the format of the talks, Israeli and Syrian officials do not see each other and Turkish diplomats shuttle between them.   Israel and Syria have been formally in a state of war since the Jewish state was created in 1948.


 
Closing Comments

First of all, thank you to those who wrote in about the evaluation on Snopes.com regarding the American soldier's email which I included in yesterday's report.  Despite Snopes, the jury still appears to be out on this issue.  One report says that Jeff Porter admitted to writing a false report, one source says it wasn't false but it was intended only for his family and yet another source says that he was told to deny it.   Who knows? 

At any rate, if anyone was offended, I apologize.  It is always my goal and intent to report as accurately as possible. 

I know that there are a handful of US soldiers serving in that region who receive my Report so if any of them would like to write in to me with their take on the issue, I'd be very happy to get those emails and pass them on to all of you.

Secondly, by the end of this week, I'll be giving you an updated report on the status of Operation Issachar.  Let me again thank you on behalf of all of the Israelis in this part of the north who will benefit from your generosity.  May you be blessed abundantly.  Let's not stop til we reach our goal of raising enough to renovate and supply two large bomb shelters.

Shalom and blessings,

Leah
 
Shalom

O love Hashem, all you His godly ones; for He preserves the faithful, and plentifully repays him that acts arrogantly.  Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you that wait for Hashem.

Psalm 31:23-24

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