UPDATES 7 pm Israeli time, Saturday, January 4 2013:
As you have probably heard by now, Israel successfully tested its Arrow 3 rocket system yesterday. The Arrow 3 is supposed to be Israel’s defense against ballistic missiles fired from Syria, Iran, and even Lebanon. The idea is that the Arrow 3 will intercept those missiles above the earth’s atmosphere and disintegrate them in space.
The Arrow 3 is one element in Israel’s arsenal of missile defense which includes “David’s Sling” for mid-range missiles, and the Iron Dome for short-range missiles.
But while the IDF was touting its achievement yesterday, your humble servant would remind all that:
–this was only the second successful test firing of a missile that has been in development since 1988.
–this was a successful test firing that did not include an interception of an incoming missile. The Arrow 3 has never successfully intercepted an incoming missile.
–insofar as the David’s Sling system is concerned, it is still “in development”.
–as far as the Iron Dome is concerned, there is every reason to believe that Iron Dome batteries on Israel’s northern border would be quickly rendered useless were Hezbollah to launch its 70,000 rockets in a massive attack on Israel. By the time the November 2012 war with Hamas ended, the Iron Dome batteries in the south were being overcome by 6 and 12-rocket salvos fired from Gaza.
In short, Israel’s missile defense remains in its infancy. We are years if not decades away from seeing it fully capable of defending the country.
John Kerry continues wheeling and dealing in Jerusalem and Ramallah claiming that “progress” is being made hour by hour. So much progress, supposedly, that Kerry is taking a few hours off from his “discussions” with Netanyahu and Abbas to pop over to Riyadh today or tomorrow for consultations with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia about the “peace process.”
All of which raises the issue once again of exactly who it is that is “negotiating” on the Palestinian side. Back in the day of Abbas’ mentor Yasser Arafat, the thought was always that the Palestinians were unable to make any decision on their own; they had to receive approval from Arab leaders to move forward–even incrementally.
Arafat believed that any misstep on his part could mean his own demise. Apparently that is still the case with Abbas.
As is often pointed out on israelstreet, Abbas has little to no substance. He is merely the unelected dictator of about 2 million people living in Judea and Samaria–unelected because he is afraid to hold an election in which he would probably be kicked out. He most decidedly does not speak for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza.
He rules completely through violence and corruption–the former emanating from Israel’s propping him up by continuing to subdue Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Judea and Samaria, and the latter based on his ability to disburse monies funneled to the PLO from the likes of the European Union, the United States, and Saudi Arabia to his cronies in the PLO hierarchy.
Without Israel’s military support and foreign money, Abbas would be out the door (or worse) in a millisecond.
All of which brings us back to the so-called “peace process”.
What is the value of any agreement that Israel signs with Abbas? You can answer that question yourself dear reader.
What is the likelihood that such an agreement will bring peace to the region? Again, you can answer that question yourself.
One final irony for today. How bizarre is it that an Obama Administration which is supposedly dedicated to the “democratic principles” of the “Arab spring” can only find resonance with such undemocratic dictators as Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah?