South front

This video is based on an analysis released by South Front on On June 15, 2018: “Israel’s Iron Dome ABM System. Threats, Peculiarities and Development Prospects

Since its inception, Israel has faced difficult political and military challenges. It defines the operational space in which IDF exists, the nature of development of its armed forces, and of individual weapons systems it uses.

The key objective and permanent factors include:

  • Israel’s geography, with the 470km-long country being no more than 135km wide.
  • Hostile environment, including unresolved territorial disputes with neighbors and the Palestinian problem.
  • Close proximity to borders of major cities and critical infrastructure.

At the same time, Israel did not treat its adversaries’ ability to use rockets as a priority for a long time, therefore establishing a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile system was not among its priorities either. The situation changed after the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraq struck Israeli cities using improved Soviet R-17 (NATO classification SS-1b Scud-B) ballistic missiles. At that time, US Patriot PAC-2 ABM systems were used to protect Israeli cities, however, they demonstrated their ineffectiveness. Therefore a decision was made to push the development of the Arrow and Arrow-2 ABM system jointly with the US, with the first systems deployed in March 2000.

The Arrow-2 system was intended to defeat attacks using ballistic missiles with ranges up to 3,000km. However, Hezbollah and Hamas were expanding their use of short-range rocket artillery. The Second Lebanon War of 2006 showed Israel to be vulnerable against such weapons. In that conflict, Hezbollah used a wide range of 107mm, 102mm, 220mm, 240mm, and 302mm rockets of Soviet, Chinese, Syrian, and Iranian manufacture with ranges between 6 and 210km, such as the Fajr-3, Zelzal, Nazeat, and others. Between July 13 and August 13, Israel was the target of 4228 rockets which caused 53 civilian fatalities, 250 wounded, and 2000 cases of light injuries, in addition to considerable damage to infrastructure and housing.

Following this war, Israel’s leaders decided it was necessary to establish a tactical ABM system, and in February 2007 the decision to develop Iron Dome was made, with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems already working on it at that time. Its deployment in Israel began in 2011.

According to Rafael data, Iron Dome is a dual-purpose system: intercepting rockets, shells, and mortar bombs (counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar, or C-RAM), and also very short range air defense (VSHORAD).

Iron Dome’s main mission, according to a Rafael brochure, is protecting civilians in cities, strategic facilities, and infrastructure, and also reducing collateral damage. It may also be used to protect troop convoys and ships. The system can operate around the clock, in any weather and climate.

Iron Dome is intended to rapidly detect, identify, and intercept asymmetrical means of attack, such as:

  • short range rockets (4-70km)
  • mortar bombs
  • artillery shells.

Moreover, when used as a SAM, Iron Dome can engage aerial target, including aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, PGMs.

Iron Dome includes the following components:

  • EL/M-2084 truck-mounted multirole radar.
  • Fire control system.
  • Three truck-towed launchers, each with 20 Tamir interceptor rockets.

A single system is capable of protecting an area of 150 km2.

The Tamir missile is equipped with a homing sensor under a metallic ballistic cone to protect it against high temperatures. The cone is ejected several seconds prior to the intercept using the proximity-fused warhead.

Tests of the naval version of Iron Dome concluded in November 2017. There are plans to install it on Sa’ar-5 corvettes and to protect drilling platforms in coastal areas.

One of Iron Dome’s specifics is its ability to identify priority targets, and to intercept only those which pose a threat to protected sites. This ability is provided by the high-tech fire control system integrated with the EL/M 2084 radar.

If the incoming projectile is predicted to fall in uninhabited areas, launch commands are not issued in order to reduce operational expenses since each intercept costs several tens of thousands of dollars.

Intercepts are carried out by Tamir rockets which detonate in close proximity to the intercepted objects. The intercept takes place at the peak of target trajectory to reduce contamination should the warhead carry chemical or biological agents.

The United States have been active in financing the development, production, and servicing of Iron Dome since 2011. The program’s overall cost has been estimated at approximately $4.5 billion, with the US contribution being over $1.5 billion. The US budget for 2018 includes $92 million to finance Iron Dome.

US participation in Iron Dome is motivated by the need to support ABM development by its main ally in the region, and creating a technological base for own future ABM systems. The main US Iron Dome partner has been Raytheon, with some 55% of its components that are financed by the US are made by US contractors, chiefly Raytheon.

Each Iron Dome battery costs about $50 million, while each Tamir rocket is estimated at $20-100 thousand. Operating costs is difficult to estimate.

Iron Dome is being supplied to Canada, Azerbaijan, India, and several other countries. Czech Republic will receive them in the near future. The total volume of sales has reached $2 billion. Israel declared its intent to export the system many times. Interested parties have included South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, United States which have voiced interest in buying the system to protect own bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iron Dome effectiveness is subject of considerable debate among the expert community. Rafael has touted the system as highly effective, with Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) supporting that assessment.

Effectiveness assessments are mainly based on the Second Lebanon War and two IDF operations in Gaza: Pillar of Cloud (2012) and Protective Edge (2014).

Thus according to the IDF, in 8 days of Pillar of Cloud Hamas launched 1506 rockets at Israel, of which 421 were intercepted, 875 fell in unpopulated areas, 58 in populated areas, 6 were killed, 240 were wounded. IDF claims Iron Dome effectiveness was 84%.

However, this data is doubted by US and Israeli experts. First of all, given IDF information on launched and intercepted rockets, system effectiveness should be about 87.9%(421 + 58=479=100%; 421/479*100=87,9%). The operational cost of Iron Dome (including Tamir interceptor rockets) was $25-30 million.

Secondly, according to Israeli police southern district data, some 109 rockets fell in populated areas, not 58. There is also no data on the reasons most of the rockets launched against Israel missed. This is likely due to the low quality of rockets used by Palestinians.

IDF claims that during Protective Edge, Palestinians launched 4500 rockets of which 692 were intercepted [during 50 days]. No additional data was provided, and the high indicated effectiveness (90%) also causes doubts due to the lack of IDF transparency. It’s clear that Iron Dome is not cost-effective. Hamas and Hezbollah rockets cost between $300 (Grad) and $800 (Qassam). When assessing cost-effectiveness, IDF should consider insurance payments for damaged property. Comparing this data for the three above-mentioned operations has led experts to conclude that per-rocket damage has been reduced from $29,500 in 2006, to $9,000 in 2012, and $5,100 in 2014.

Israel's Magic Lamp: Iron Dome Missile Defense

However, some US experts doubt the objectivity of official Israeli data and believe that intercept probability is about 5%. According to Michael Anderson, an expert with the Brock University, reduction in rocket effectiveness since the 2nd Lebanon War was due not only to Iron Dome, but also to a series of other measures, including early warning and bomb shelter improvements. Moreover, Gaza and 2nd Lebanon War can hardly be compared, in part because of the differences in population density between southern and northern Israel. Accurate assessments are also made difficult by absence of sufficient verifiably accurate information, much of which remains classified.

Israel is continuing Iron Dome purchases. It’s also clear Hezbollah, Hamas, and their allies will seek to improve own offensive weapons to make them more effective at overcoming Iron Dome, with two parallel approaches, tactical and technical.

From the technical point of view, the attacker will seek to improve munitions accuracy. If guided artillery shells are used, Iron Dome effectiveness would be much lower. According to IDF air defense commander Zwick Haimovich, Hezbollah and Hamas will be able to strike Israel using cruise missiles. Even when these improved systems are intercepted, they would increase Israel’s expenditures on air defenses because more interceptor rockets would be needed.

Tactically, the obvious response is placing offensive weapons in direct proximity of targets, given that Iron Dome’s minimum effective range is 4km. Even today Hezbollah can strike 75% of Israel’s territory using systems it currently owns.

Iron Dome has only limited abilities to intercept several targets simultaneously. Therefore Israel’s opponents will seek to increase the density of its rocket volleys. Increasing the number of cheap weapons is the most likely course adversaries will adopt. According to some reports, Hezbollah has already increased the number of its rockets by several times, to more than 100 thousand.

Combining unguided and guided rockets would greatly increase the ability to overcome ABM defenses. Moreover, ABM systems would be degraded if faced by multiple adversaries operating from different directions. According to open source data, Iron Dome is quite sensitive and often reacts to false alarms, for example, from machine-gun bursts. This vulnerability is an obvious one to exploit. The psychological factor also matters. RAND analysts are correct to note that reducing casualties among Israeli civilians has a negative media effect against the backdrop of losses among Palestinians or Lebanese.

In the future, Iron Dome will likely be modernized to address existing problems and to adapt to developments in offensive means.Moreover, fire control and radar systems will be modernized as well. On the one hand, the system will be better able to detect launches and predict trajectories. On the other hand, it’s necessary to improve the ability to identify targets due to its propensity to react to false alarms. These efforts will be accompanied by the development of Iron Beam which is intended to defeat ultra-short range munitions. Israel has limited ability to improve ABM tactics, and include better coordination, where intelligence-gathering plays a big role.

Israel and its adversaries will continue improving their defensive and offensive systems, respectively. They will focus on modernization, improving quality and quantity, development of new weapons, and improving tactics. Hezbollah and Hamas will emphasize tactics changes in the use of their existing arsenals, combined with improving their rockets’ range and accuracy and expanding the variety of weapons systems used. Combining cheap and improved precise rockets in a single salvo will become a more frequent tactic.

Israel, in turn, will continue perfecting Iron Dome and Iron Beam with US assistance. But given the increased arsenals of its adversaries, Tel Aviv will place greater emphasis on its intelligence and special operations to detect and destroy rocket launchers in early stages of conflict. Israel will also be forced to recognize the importance of traditional civil defense and early warning, since Iron Dome may be forced to focus on defending military targets and critical infrastructure when faced with massed attacks. Here too, intelligence and diplomatic instruments will be used to prevent a coordinated attack by several adversaries. Effectiveness of this system in future conflicts will influence its export potential.


Israel needs Russia, more than the latter needs the former in the Middle East.



Putin and Netanyahu Agenda - 4 Years In The Making

Click to see full-size image.

Since September 2015, when Russia entered Syria to fight the terrorism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held regular meetings, mostly focused on the security situation in Syria, but also to further the two country’s bilateral economic and other relations.

Following is a complete list of all meetings between the two leaders. It should be noted that apart from a few meetings on the sidelines of international events, Netanyahu was the party that always travelled to Russia to meet Putin. The Russian leader has not visited Israel to meet the Israeli Prime Minister. In fact, Putin hasn’t visited Israel since 2015 at all.

The 1st meeting between the leaders, following Russia entering Syria happened on September 21st, 2015. It took place at the Embassy of Israel, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow, Russia.  It was a 1-Day visit.

The focus of the visit was the security situation after Russia joined the war in Syria. Netanyahu also accused Syria and Iran of funding Hezbollah and preparing the Golan Heights for 2nd front against Israel.

Putin, on his part, said that the Syrian army will not open a second front against Israel.

Following the meetingNetanyahu said that the conversation regarding Syria went well, and they agreed on a joint mechanism to avoid misunderstandings between Israeli and Russian forces.

A Second issue was about Israelis waiting for a pension for Russia. Regardless, the main point was avoiding any misunderstandings in Syria between the Russian Armed Forces and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) while Israel attempts to fight Hezbollah and Iran.

The 2nd Meeting took place on November 30th, 2015 and it was on the sidelines of the Paris Summit on Climate Change:

Netanyahu said ‘coordination, de-confliction mechanism’ with Russia was successful, and that it prevented ‘unnecessary accidents.”

Netanyahu also spoke about the “big battle against militant Islam [and] the terrorism it spews forward.” Netanyahu expressed “hope that Israel and Russia can see eye to eye on all the strategic matters” and reassured Russia that “it’s within our powers to have very good coordination on the ground and in the air” to prevent accident.

“I’m very satisfied by the fact that our militaries have been very careful to coordinate with one another and will continue to do so. I think this is an indication of the openness and the success of the relationship between Israel and Russia,” the Israeli leader added.

There was really no comment by the Russian leader.

The 3rd meeting took place on April 21st, 2016 at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia and it was a 1-day visit by Netanyahu:

Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged opinions on current aspects of bilateral cooperation, including security, and key issues of the global and regional agendas such as prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement and the situation in Syria. Netanyahu said that Israel was giving its best to prevent transfer of weapons to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria.

He reiterated that Golan Heights would remain part of Israel, regarding of international decisions.

A few days earlier Putin met with Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Middle East peace process.

Following the meeting it was announced that the leaders agreed on a goal of strengthening security coordination between Russia and Israel so as to avoid mishaps. Arrangements were made for a military delegation from Israel to meet a Russian one with the inclusion of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

The defense official meeting was Important as a result of the meeting between Netanyahu and Putin because “freedom of action for the IDF and the air force in places that are important to us vis-à-vis our security, and I think that this was achieved,” as the Israeli PM said.

They spoke of pensions for Russians who migrated to Israel again and agreed to finally sign a decision on June 7th for 25th anniversary of Israel-Russia relations.

The 4th meeting between the Russian President and the Israeli Prime Minister came on June 6th and 7th, 2016 and commemorated 25 years of Russia and Israel relations. They met at the Kremlin, Moscow and the Bolshoy Theater as well:

The two leaders discussed current issues of bilateral cooperation, including the further strengthening of trade and economic cooperation as well as cultural and humanitarian ties. In addition, there was an exchange of views on regional issues, primarily in the context of the fight against international terrorism. Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu reviewed developments related to Syria, as well as the status and prospects of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

There were also supposed talks of a a free trade area between the Eurasian Economic Union and Israel that could boost our business relations. Netanyahu also said that Turkish-Israeli reconciliation is “closer than ever.” Putin also said that he’s positive that Turkish-Russian relations back then would also improve (as they in fact did).

The 5th meeting between them happened on March 9th, 2017, once again at the Kremlin, Moscow and was just for 1 day:

Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel’s “frequent visits reflect genuine friendship and a tightening of relations in economics, technology, tourism and culture, as well as the living bridge of the one million Russian speakers living in Israel.”

He also hailed the conclusion of the agreement on the pensions of Russian migrants living in Israel.

He also said that Russia made important contributions to fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda Sunni terrorists, but replacing them with “Shi’ite Islamic terrorists by Iran” would be an unwelcome result.

He reiterated that “Israel is a state today.” And it has an army and can defend itself from the Shi’ite.

Putin on his part said “I am very pleased to see that we have such close and trusting contact. We meet regularly in person, are regularly in contact by telephone, and work together at the ministry and agency level.”

They discussed the situation in the Middle East and combating terrorism.

The meeting took place 1 day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Moscow and met with Putin to discuss the Middle East situation.

The 6th meeting took place on August 23rd, 2017 in the Kremlin, Moscow and was once again just a 1-day visit by Netanyahu:

Again, they discussed ways of improving bilateral relations and also exchanged views on the situation in the ME.

Putin said “Let me start today by saying that we are happy with the state of our bilateral relations, which have developed in part through your direct efforts, Mr Prime Minister.”

Netanyahu warned that “Iran is making tremendous efforts to bolster its presence in Syria. This is a threat for Israel, for the Middle East, and, I believe, for the entire world. Iran has also made serious advances in extending its control and influence in Iraq and Yemen. In many respects, it is Iran that exercises real control in Lebanon today.” Even alleging that Iran is the force exercising control in Lebanon.

“Mr President, we are fighting and defeating ISIS through common efforts, and this is very important. But what is worrying is that where we defeat ISIS and it disappears, Iran steps in.”

Netanyahu claimed that neither Russia nor Israel should forget that Iran threatens Israel constantly and it “arms terrorist organisations and encourages and initiates terrorism.”

Putin did not address Netanyahu’s remarks about Iran’s role in Syria nor his threat to take unilateral military action.

The 7th meeting happened on January 29th, 2018, in the Kremlin, Moscow and Netanyahu only visited for a single day:

According to the Kremlin’s statement “The leaders plan to discuss the development of Russian-Israeli cooperation in trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas and pressing international and regional issues, including a settlement in the Middle East and the situation in Syria.”

Before the meeting Netanyahu said that to defeat Nazism the way was to “to take a strong and timely stand against murderous ideologies.

“This is also our mission today and it is to this end that I want to speak with you, about our common efforts to promote security and stability in our region, and – of course – the cooperation between us, between Russia and Israel.”

Prior to leaving for Moscow Netanyahu said:

“We meet periodically in order to ensure the military coordination between the IDF and the Russian forces in Syria; as of today this has succeeded and it is important that it continue to succeed.

I will discuss with President Putin Iran’s relentless efforts to establish a military presence in Syria, which we strongly oppose and are also taking action against.

We will also discuss Iran’s effort to turn Lebanon into one giant missile site, a site for precision missiles against the State of Israel, which we will not tolerate.”

Following the meetingNetanyahu said that he “made it clear to him [Putin] that we will not agree to either one of these developments and will act according to need.” There were no remarks on behalf of Putin provided.

The 8th meeting between the two took place on May 9th, 2018 on the commemoration of Victory Day in Moscow:

Putin said that the meeting between the two leaders would be used to “discuss bilateral relations and problems in the region. Unfortunately, the situation is very acute. I would like to express hope that you and I will not only manage to discuss, but also find solutions which will lead to a shift in the situation, and which will also allow us to find ways to resolve heated conflicts.”

Netanyahu said before his trip to Moscow that “in light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure continued coordination” between the Russian and Syria militaries. He made no mention of the airstrikes, and Tel Aviv has not commented. Russia and Israel have set up a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.

At the talks with Putin, Netanyahu used the opportunity to slam Iran for its anti-Israel policy:

“It’s hard to believe, but 73 years after the Holocaust, in our Middle East there is a country Iran that openly calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. But there is a difference between what was then [during WW2] and what we have today. We have our own country today.”

The 9th meeting between Putin and Netanyahu happened in the Kremlin, Moscow on July 11th, 2018, the two leaders also saw a world cup football match:

Netanyahu said: “It is clear that our focus is on Syria and Iran. Our view that Iran needs to leave Syria is well-known; it is not new to you.”

Several hours before he spoke a Syrian UAV had penetrated Israel’s airspace. It was reportedly shot down and Israel “will continue to take strong action against any trickle [of fire] and any infiltration into Israel’s airspace or territory. We expect that everyone will respect this sovereignty and that Syria will strictly abide by the [1974] Separation of Forces Agreement.”

According to the Israeli PM, the cooperation between Israel and Russia was a central component in preventing a conflagration and deterioration of the issues in Syria and other situations. He also thanked Putin for the opportunity to discuss all of these topics.

Putin said that “In general, our bilateral relations are developing quite positively. I will not quote figures now but they are positive. This applies not only to our economic interaction but also to our political interaction. Good relations are developing between our defense departments. The same goes for the cultural and humanitarian sphere.” The Russian leader reiterated that all Israeli concerns were discussed in detail.

The 10th meeting between them happened in Paris, on the sidelines of Armistice Day in Paris on November 11th, 2018:

It is of significance since it was their first meeting since a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane was downed over Syria as a result of actions by the IDF’s air force on September 17th. 15 Russian servicemen died in the incident.

Putin said that it was a “tragic chain of events” and didn’t directly blame Israel.

After the November 11th meeting, Netanyahu told reporters that the “conversation was very good and to the point; I would say it was very important.” He refused to elaborate any further on the conversation. He refused to elaborate any further on the conversation. No other information was provided.

The 11th meeting happened on February 27th, 2019 in the Kremlin, Moscow and was, again, a one-day visit by Netanyahu:

Putin said that bilateral trade is increasing. It was not very large in absolute figures but the trends were positive. He also said that it was very important to discuss the situation in the Middle East as well as security issues.

Putin said that he would soon visit a special monument devoted to the victims of the siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem, after Netanyahu extended an invitation.

This was one of the meetings in which Putin spoke the most and focused on the importance of discussions with Israel. Probably because elections were nearing for Netanyahu.

Prior to leaving for Moscow, the Israeli PM said:

“We are leaving for a very important meeting with President Putin in Moscow. It is not correct that this is my first meeting with him since the Ilyushin plane was downed by Syrian forces because I met with him In Paris and we discussed that we would meet again, and we are doing just that.

The conversation will certainly deal with several issues, but from our point-of-view, the focus of the talks will be preventing Iran from entrenching in Syria, the entrenchment of a country which explicitly says that its goal is to wipe us out. You know that when I say we are acting against this, these are no empty words.

“Of course, I will go into details with President Putin as we do in order to ensure that the Russian military and the IDF coordinate in such a manner so as to prevent friction and clashes between us. This has succeeded up until now and it is important that it also succeed in the future. This is the main goal for which I am traveling to Moscow; there are other goals.”

At the meeting, Netanyahu provided the following remarks:

“The biggest threat to the region’s stability and security comes from Iran and its allies. We are doing everything we can to prevent this threat from being translated into reality. We will not allow Iran to do what it talks about, that is, to destroy us, and we will act accordingly.

I will be happy to discuss with you these issues and our wonderful bilateral relations.

“The greatest threat to stability and security in the region comes from Iran and its proxies. We are determined to continue our aggressive activity against Iran, which calls for our destruction, and against its attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria.”

Their most recent and 12th meeting took place on April 4th, 2019, once again in the Kremlin, Moscow. It was probably organized to be as close as possible to the Israeli Election to show Netanyahu’s “close relationship” with both the US President and the Russian President. The meeting was also admittedly hastily organized on April 1st.

Taking part in the meeting on the Russian side were Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimovand Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev.

Putin said “I am happy to welcome you to Moscow. We met only recently, but the scale of our relations is so enormous that we need to meet frequently.”

On April 1st they spoke over the phone, discussing topical issues concerning bilateral cooperation, including military contacts, as well as the situation in the Middle East. The phone call was at Netanyahu’s initiative. Before departing from Israel, Netanyahu said he and Putin would “discuss events in Syria”, including the “special coordination between our militaries”. It was most likely a meeting to just showcase the relationship between Putin and Netanyahu and further seek to solidify his chances for re-election.

While both Israel and Russia are following their own agenda, and their official rhetoric reflects that, it is apparent that there is a working relationship between the sides. It could even be considered “friendly” in some fields.

In addition to meetings between Netanyahu and Putin, the Israeli PM also assumed the seats of Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and Health Minister.

Over the period since 2015, he has met several times with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and he also had a few meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

Even when the Israeli Defense Minister was Avigdor Lieberman up until late 2018, Netanyahu still had meetings with Shoigu.

It is without a doubt that Israel has its own agenda in Syria and the Middle East and it likely doesn’t correlate with the Russian one. Still, though, it is quite apparent that Russia takes into account Tel’Aviv’s interests in its policy and conduct in Syria. Israel, without a doubt also acts in Israel with Moscow’s reaction in mind.

The entire scope of the relationship between the two countries, at least when it comes to Middle East policy is rather unclear, since Netanyahu is the more vocal party and he continues accusing Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Putin on his part maintains that Israel’s concerns are being taken into account and that is about it.

It is also quite showing that Putin hasn’t visited Israel, whatsoever since September 2015. The Israeli leader is the one that visits Moscow every two months, thus the friendly relationship is also potentially one in which Tel’Aviv is the “needy” side, while Russia maintains the “strong” position.

Israel claims that it supported the defeat of terrorism and that Russia contributed to it, but the fact of the matter is that the actions of Russia and the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad, and even Iran were the parties that did the “heavy lifting” against ISIS.

It is also unclear what portion of Israel’s requests are being fulfilled by Russia, since they continue being the same with every subsequent meeting. Without a doubt Russia undertakes action and contains the situation and without its assistance Israel would quite possibly be in a more precarious situation.

Russia, at least, formally condemned the recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, but it is no secret that it may further its own agenda, not in Syria, but in Crimea and getting recognition for the “annexation.”

The veiled relationship between Israel and Russia doesn’t appear to be as strong as the very public one between Tel’Aviv and Washington, but the scope remains unclear.

Netanyahu attempts to be vocal of it, since he is used to the very public Trump administration, but the Russian administration has an entirely different style of politics.

At a glance it also appears that Israel needs Russia, more than the latter needs the former in the Middle East.

The Israeli and the Palestinian tracks المساران «الإسرائيلي» والفلسطيني

The Israeli and the Palestinian tracks

أبريل 9, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Few days ago before the missiles fell on Tel Aviv and the heroic qualitative Salfit operation, one of the settlers in the courtyard of the Al Aqsa Mosque described the Palestinians as cowards made of sugar and that they did not go to the Al Aqsa Mosque for fear of solving by rain, few days later those made of sugar bombed Tel Aviv with missiles that transcended the iron dome, and few days later a Palestinian youth stabbed a Zionist soldier and disarmed him, then he shot him with that weapon along with number of soldiers and killed three of them. The Palestinian and the Israeli tracks seem contradictory comparing with the past decades. In the past the big talk was by the Palestinians while the big act was done by the Israelis, now the big talk is by the Israeli rulers and settlers while the big acts are done by the Palestinians.

In the past two decades, since the year 2000 the Palestinian and the Israeli tracks were opposite, When Israel was obliged to withdraw without return or negotiation from the South of Lebanon, and the uprising of Al Aqsa Mosque the track was upward in favor of the Palestinians versus a declining Israeli track. Then the liberation of Gaza Strip in 2005 and the Israeli failure in the war of July 2006 occurred. Now, we are in the post – international and regional failure stage which Israel was a part of it through the war on Syria and the growing capacities of the resistance axis. Despite the inability of going to wars Israel went to the philosophy of the wall. Therefore, the announcement of a Jewish state through the expression of the philosophy of wall and the transformation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem form an announcement of the inability to go on in any negotiating project that leads to a political settlement, and the inability to go to wars. So although this has been seen as a sign of power but it is a sign of weakness.

Despite the big division, the Palestinians seem closer to each other politically in the consensus on refusing the negotiation, the American role, and the project of the Deal of the Century although these reasons were never been reasons of political or popular division before, despite the understandings between Fatah and Hamas Movements and their partnership in the elections and the formation of the government, while the Israelis despite their apparent difference in the levels of escalation they seem aware of the existential dilemma of their entity represented in the inability to go to war or to make any compromise. All the fronts are close and the tampering in them is expensive as the compromises which are not less expensive.

There have been major transformations in the region, Israel lost the lead, the Palestinians supported by forces, governments, and the resistance axis obtained more elements of initiative, the open clash with the occupying army and the settlers is as the negotiating path; there is no choice among which the Palestinians divide, the Arab and Western ability to revive the negotiation is declining. Therefore, the resistance option is the only way and it proved its ability to get achievements. It is enough to observe the Israeli escape from the involvement in response to Gaza missiles over Tel Aviv to know how the situations changed. After Israel was creating events as pretexts to go to wars it eases the threat of challenges to justify its flee from the confrontations and wars.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

المساران «الإسرائيلي» والفلسطيني

مارس 18, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– قبل أيام على صواريخ تل أبيب وعملية سلفيت النوعية البطولية، خرج أحد المستوطنين في تسجيل من باحة المسجد الأقصى يصف الفلسطينيين بالجبن، باعتبارهم مصنوعين من سكر ولم يخرجوا إلى المسجد الأقصى بسبب المطر خشية الذوبان، وبعد أيام قليلة كان المصنوعون من سكر يقصفون بصواريخ تتخطّى القبة الحديدة وتسقط في تل أبيب، وبعدها بأيام يقوم شاب فلسطيني بطعن جندي صهيوني وتجريده من سلاحه، وإطلاق النار بواسطة هذا السلاح على مجموعة من الجنود فيقتل ثلاثة منهم ويتوارى. ويظهر المساران الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي متعاكسين، يتبادلان الحال العربية الإسرائيلية قبل عقود، يوم كان الكلام الكبير للعرب والفعل الكبير للإسرائيليين، ليبدو اليوم أن الكلام الكبير للإسرائيليين حكاماً ومستوطنين، بينما الأفعال الكبيرة للفلسطينيين.

– خلال العقدين الماضيين، ومنذ العام 2000 سلك المساران الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي اتجاهين متعاكسين، فمنذ إجبار «إسرائيل» على الانسحاب دون مقابل أو تفاوض من جنوب لبنان، ومقابلها اندلاع انتفاضة المسجد الأقصى، بدأ المسار التصاعدي لحساب الفلسطينيين، ومقابله مسار الانحدار الإسرائيلي، وتلاها تحرير غزة عام 2005 والفشل الإسرائيلي في حرب تموز 2006، وها نحن اليوم في مرحلة ما بعد الفشل الدولي والإقليمي الذي كانت «إسرائيل» جزءاً عضوياً منه في الحرب على سورية، وتنامي قدرات محور المقاومة، ذهبت «إسرائيل» نحو تصعيد فلسفة الجدار، رغم كل الصراخ عن القدرة على خوض الحروب، فشكل الإعلان عن دولة يهودية تعبيراً عن فلسفة الجدار، ومثله نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، إعلاناً عن العجز على السير في أي مشروع تفاوضي نحو تسوية سياسية يعادل العجز عن خوض الحروب، ولو رآه البعض علامة قوة فهو ليس إلا دليل ضعف.

– رغم الانقسام الفصائلي الحاد يبدو الفلسطينيون أقرب سياسياً لبعضهم في الإجماع على رفض التفاوض والدور الأميركي ومشروع صفقة القرن، بصورة لم يسبق أن شكل الموقف من التفاوض ومن نسخ التسوية المعروضة ومن العلاقة مع واشنطن، أسباباً دائمة للانقسام السياسي والشعبي، رغم وجود تفاهمات بين حركتي فتح وحماس وتشاركهما حينها في الانتخابات وتشكيل الحكومة، بينما يبدو الإسرائيليون رغم ظاهر تفرقهم في مستويات الخطاب التصعيدي انتخابياً، مدركين حجم المأزق الوجودي الذي يعيشه كيانهم، والمتمثل بفقدان قدرة الذهاب للحرب أو قدرة الذهاب للتسوية، فالجبهات كلها مقفلة ومخاطر العبث معها مكلفة، والتسويات لا تقل كلفة، وليس في الكيان من يجرؤ على المخاطرة في الاتجاهين.

– ثمة تحولات كبرى جرت في المنطقة، فقدت خلالها «إسرائيل» الإمساك بزمام المبادرة، ومقابلها حدثت تحولات معاكسة امتلك خلالها الفلسطينيون ومن ورائهم قوى وحكومات محور المقاومة، المزيد من عناصر القدرة على المبادرة، حيث الاشتباك المفتوح مع جيش الاحتلال وقطعان المستوطنين، وطريق التفاوض مقفل كخيار يقسم الفلسطينيين، والقدرة العربية والغربية على إنعاش مسار التفاوض تتراجع، وخيار المقاومة يصير طريقاً حتمياً وحيداً، وقد أثبت قدرته على تحقيق الإنجازات، ويكفي النظر في كيفية التهرّب الإسرائيلي من التورط في الرد على صواريخ غزة على تل أبيب لمعرفة تبدل الأحوال الذي نعيش في ظله، بعدما كانت «إسرائيل» تصنع أحداثاً لتتخذها ذرائع لشن الحروب يوم كانت قادرة عليها، صارت تهوّن من خطورة التحديات لتبرير الهروب من المواجهات والحروب، لأنها فقدت هذه القدرة.

Related Videos

Related Articles

كلمات عتب لروسيا الحليفة والصديقة

أبريل 6, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لن تتأثر العلاقة التحالفية العميقة التي تجمع روسيا بسورية ودول وقوى محور المقاومة، بقيام موسكو بتسليم بقايا جثة جندي السلطان يعقوب، لحكومة كيان الاحتلال، خارج منظومة التنسيق، وموجبات التحالف، ومقتضيات احترام السيادة السورية. ومستلزمات الخصوصية التي يختزنها حدث بهذا الحجم ارتبط غالباً بمفاوضات تبادل ترتبط بها حرية الآلاف من الأسرى السوريين والفلسطينيين، لكن مقتضيات التحالف والحرص تقتضي المصارحة وتسجيل اللوم والعتب، وقوله علناً، طالما صار الأمر علناً، والرد من قلب العتب واللوم وربما الغضب، على كل الذين يحلو لهم تشويه صورة روسيا ورسم شبهات حول خلفياتها، أو ينخرطون منذ بدء الحرب على سورية بمحاولات النيل من صورتها كدولة سيّدة تتمسك بسيادتها.

– يعني الكثير أن تقول سورية إنها لم تكن على علم بقضية تسليم البقايا، بعد قول الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين أن استعادة الرفات تمّت بالتعاون بين العسكريين الروس والسوريين. وهذه رسالة سيادية كبيرة في قلب علاقة التحالف والصداقة، عنوانها أن ما جرى أكبر من أن يسهُل تمريره تحت الطاولة والاكتفاء بالحديث عنه في الغرف المغلقة التي تتمّ فيها مناقشة الخلافات بين الحلفاء. فالصورة التي نقلت عبر الفضاء ووصلت للأسرى في سجون الاحتلال وأشعرتهم بالغصّة والمرارة، تقتضي من الدولة السورية التبرؤ منها، وتستدعي القول لروسيا كحليف وصديق إن خطأ جسيماً تم ارتكابه بتوهم أن العلاقة التحالفية تحتمل تمرير أمر كهذا لتحقيق مكاسب إعلامية لصورة روسيا كدولة حريصة «إنسانياً» على استعادة رفات الجنود الذين يقتلون في الحروب وتسليمهم إلى ذويهم، وتقديم هذه الهدية لرئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو عشية الانتخابات، ضمن تنافس أميركي روسي على الاستثمار في فوز نتنياهو الانتخابي.

– بات معلوماً أن «إسرائيل» أدارت قضية البحث عن الرفات بالتعاون مع الجماعات الإرهابية التي سيطرت على مخيم اليرموك، وأن مخابرات كيان الاحتلال فتحت باب التفاوض مع موسكو لتأمين نقل هذا الرفات إلى موسكو من ضمن التفاوض على انسحاب الجماعات المسلحة من مخيم اليرموك. وهنا لا صحة للكلام عن قيام روسيا من وراء ظهر الدولة السورية بعمليات البحث عن الرفات والقيام بنقله. كما لا صحة للكلام عن حسابات روسية أبعد من المكاسب الآنية، وكل ما ينسجه بعض الخيال المريض عن مشاريع تسويات روسية أميركية تتم تحت الطاولة على حساب سورية، وتتصل بأمن «إسرائيل»، منافٍ لحقيقة أن ما يقوله الروس هو أنهم وضعوا أمام نتنياهو شرط التوقف عن الغارات على سورية كثمن لهذا التعاون، وما تقوله وقائع الشهور الماضية أن روسيا قامت بترميم شبكات الدفاع الجوي السورية وأنها زودت سورية بالحديث والجديد منها، وما يقوله المنطق إن روسيا في وضع السيد القوي وليس ثمة ما يستدعي أن تتصرف بضعف أمام «إسرائيل»، وإن الأمور الجارية في المنطقة تؤكد صحة منطق الرئيس بوتين مع رئيس حكومة الاحتلال حول اتفاق فك الاشتباك الموقع عام 1974، والكلام منشور علناً، يربط هذا الاتفاق بقرارات الأمم المتحدة بعودة الجولان إلى سورية، ووقف أي عمل عسكري ضد سورية، وثمّة الكثير الذي يعرفه الروس وسيحدث على هذا الصعيد بعد الإعلان الأميركي الاعتراف بضم «إسرائيل» للجولان. – كان المطلوب ببساطة أن تصارح موسكو حليفتها دمشق بما يجري منذ بداية القضية، وأن تطلب تفويضها بإدارة مفاوضات لتسليم الرفات، بما يضمن مطالب روسية معينة، هي حق روسيا، لكنه يضمن الإفراج عن آلاف الأسرى السوريين والفلسطينيين، وإبلاغ تل أبيب عندما طلبت وساطة موسكو لتسلم الرفات ونقله، بأن القبول مشروط بقبول تل أبيب بهذا التفاوض المتعدد الأطراف، وما كانت حكومة نتنياهو قادرة على الرفض.

– هي غلطة… وغلطة الشاطر بألف، لكنها ليست خيانة ولا مؤامرة. وبين الحلفاء تحدث تباينات ويقع البعض بالتسرّع، ويتورط البعض بحسابات فئوية تُغري بالتجاوز، لكن التصحيح يجب أن يتم من ضمن منظومة التحالف، وروسيا ستبقى صديقاً وحليفاً وشريك الانتصارات الكبرى التي تغيّر العالم، و»إسرائيل» ستبقى العدو الذي تنتظره مقاومة في الجولان والذي سيدفع الثمن في مفاوضات تبادل لاحقة لبقايا جنوده الآخرين، حرية لآلاف الأسرى والمعتقلين.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Iran Is Working To Restore Hamas Ties With Damascus – Report

Iran Is Working To Restore Hamas Ties With Damascus – Report

Hamas members. FILE IMAGE: AP

South Front


The Palestinian Hamas Movement is working to restore its ties with the Damascus government after strengthen its relations with Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran recently, Al-Monitor reporter on April 3.

Hamas’ leadership declared its support for the Syrian opposition and closed its offices in the Syrian capital in the first months of the Syrian crisis. Damascus also says that the Palestinian group was responsible for training several militant groups throughout Syria, especially in the period from 2011 to 2012.

An Iranian official told Al-Monitor that Iran has been mediating between the Syrian government and Hamas since early 2017. However, the official admitted that Damascus continues to view the Hamas attitude in the early years of the crisis as a stab in the back.

“The Iranian mediation, and Hezbollah’s mediation, have eased Damascus’ stance toward Hamas,” the source, who declined to be named, added.

The new leadership of Hamas, which was elected in May 2017, managed to recover the group’s relations with Iran and Hezbollah and adopted a new stand on the Syrian issue. Last month, the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

“The Golan will remain an integral part of the Syrian territory … We stand by Syria in the face of the US arrogance that does not abide by international norms, covenants and laws,” Haniyeh said on March 25, according to Al-Monitor.

Ali Baraka, a member of the Hamas’ political and Arab relations bureau, declined to speak about the Iranian and Hezbollah efforts to restore the relations between the group and Damascus. However, he affirmed that there is high-level coordination among the so-called “resistance axis” to counter U.S. actions in the Middle East.

Despite these efforts by Iran and Hezbollah, local observers believe that restoring Hamas ties with Damascus will not be an easy task. Government supporters accuse the Palestinian group of committing multiple war crimes in the early years of the war. This public image of Hamas also impacts negatively any efforts regarding the restoration of ties between the two sides.

More on this topic:


Israeli Media: Resistance Can’t Be Defeated!



Israeli Media: Hamas Can’t Be Defeated!

April 1, 2019


Hamas Palestinian movement cannot be defeated, and invading the coastal enclave would be like fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, Israeli journalist said.

In an article entitled “Israel has no way of winning in Gaza”, Israeli journalists at Ynet, Oded Shalom, said that Hamas is “far behind” the Israeli army in “every military aspect and there is no room for comparison.”

“I am sorry to say that even as the election campaign enters its home stretch, none of the candidates has the courage to speak the truth about the Gaza Strip: Hamas cannot be defeated,” Shalom said.

The Israeli journalist noted meanwhile that the occupation military is equipped with the most modern technology, adding that “: forces from the air, land and sea could precisely hit and destroy any target in the Gaza Strip from miles away. Yet Hamas is invincible, and that is the truth.”

Then, Shalom said that any Israeli invasion of the besieged strip of Gaza would be like fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.

“Invading Gaza will be like fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. The IDF’s technological advantage will diminish in the maze of tunnels that Hamas has dug. The terror group may ask for a temporary cease-fire, but will never surrender, and Israel – subjected to relentless rocket fire, loss of life and damage to property – will agree to such a truce. It will be a rerun of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and all the other military operations in Gaza that came before. And that, too, is the truth,” Shalom said, referring to Israeli occupation military and to Hamas resistance movement.

In this context, he said Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is cautious when unleashing the military might of the occupation military on Gaza.

“One good thing that I can say about Netanyahu is that he is the only of the candidates who is not making unrealistic video clips emblazoned with the slogan “Let the IDF win.””

However, Shalom noted that Netanyahu “lacks the courage of leader, like the courage late prime minister Ariel Sharon had when he came up with and gained public opinion for the disengagement from Gaza.”

“A courageous leader should say that Hamas in Gaza cannot be defeated, that those launching firebombs attached to balloons or guerrilla fighters hiding in tunnels cannot be defeated.”

Shalom said meanwhile that the Zionist occupation needs to negotiate with Hamas, but noted that negotiation would take place “by sending suitcases filled with cash but with the mediation of Egypt and the aid of the oil rich Gulf states.”

“We need a long-term cease fire agreement that would include building houses and infrastructure in Gaza. We will not reach a peace deal with Hamas, but we will be able to live next to them in peace,” he added, clarifying that the “balance of terror will be mutual like the balance of terror we have with Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

“But it is our fate to always live by our sword,” the Israeli journalist added.

Source: Israeli media

Related Videos

لماذا صمت المطالبون بالردّ السوري؟

مارس 29, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– دأبت أقلام وأصوات عربية على انتظار أي غارة إسرائيلية تستهدف سورية لإطلاق حملة مبرمجة عنوانها المطالبة بالردّ، واتباع المطالبة بالتشكيك والتشكيك بالسخرية، حتى صار كل عمل عسكري إسرائيلي مصحوباً حكماً بحملات مشابهة. يبدو أحد الفعلين مكمّلاً للآخر، حتى تاريخ إسقاط أول طائرة عسكرية إسرائيلية شاركت في الإغارة على أهداف سورية، وما تلاها من تفعيل وتطوير شبكات الدفاع الجوي السورية ورسم خطوط حمراء عنوانها، ممنوع دخول الأجواء السورية، وجاء سقوط الطائرة الروسية قبالة اللاذقية وتحميل موسكو لـ»إسرائيل» للمسؤولية وقيامها بالإعلان عن تسليم شبكة الـ»أس 300» للجيش السوري، وظهور توازن جديد جدي يقطع الطريق على حملات التشكيك، ويجعل أصحابها سبباً للسخرية.

– قال بعض المحللين الإسرائيليين إن أصحاب حملات المطالبة بالرد السوري من خصوم سورية كانوا سبباً في تسارع الجهوزية السورية للردّ، وجاءت الغارات الأخيرة قرب مطار حلب لتفتح المجال للانتظار، خصوصاً أنها تمّت في مناخات ملبّدة بالغيوم التي تطرح أسئلة كبرى حول فرضيات تتخطّى لعب الصغار الذين ينفذون حملات المطالبة بالردّ، فالغارات تعقب صواريخ سقطت في تل أبيب، ولم ينبس أحد من هؤلاء ببنت شفة. وقالت مصادر فلسطينية للمرة الثانية إن هذه الصواريخ تفعّلت وانطلقت بدون من يطلقها بفعل أحوال الطقس وأراد الإسرائيليون التصديق تفادياً للتصعيد، ولم يخرج أحد من جوقة المطالبة بالرد ليسأل عن سبب عدم الرد الإسرائيلي، وعندما سقط الصاروخ الأول قرب مطار بن غوريون لم يقل أصحاب حملات المطالبة بالردّ أنهم سمعوا السفير السوري في نيويورك يقول إن قصف مطار دمشق قد يستجلب قصفاً لمطار بن غوريون، وعندما تمّت الغارة قرب مطار حلب لم يقل أحد من هؤلاء إنه ربما رد على الصواريخ على تل أبيب، لكن بعض المحللين الإسرائيليين قال ذلك، وبعضهم قال إن ثمة رابطاً بين صواريخ تل ابيب وغارة مطار حلب والإعلان الأميركي عن الاعتراف بضمّ إسرائيل للجولان، وأن القيادة العسكرية الإسرائيلية قلقة من وجود فرضيات تصعيد سورية بالتعاون مع الحلفاء قد تتخطى جبهة الجولان، وأن التصرف الإسرائيلي ينطلق من اعتبار حالة الحرب قائمة، حيث استكشاف وجسّ نبض شبكات الدفاع جزء من هذه الحالة.

– اللافت بعد الغارة الإسرائيلية أن أحداً لم يكتب أو يتحدث عن المطالبة برد سوري، كأن ثمة أمر عمليات يمنع هذه المطالبات، بمثل ما كان أمر عمليات سابق يصدر لتشجيع هذه المطالبات. فصاحب الأمر يستشعر أن ثمة رداً موجعاً وهو لا يريد المشاركة في تبريره عبر المطالبات، بل على العكس يبدو المطلوب هو التحذير من خطورة التصعيد، لخلق مناخ شعبي ضاغط بعدم الرد، ولذلك سنشهد مقالات ومواقف من أصحاب حملات المطالبة بالردّ، تدعو هذه المرة للتهدئة والتروي وتتحدث عن العقلانية وخطورة التهور والذهاب لمواجهة لا تتحملها المنطقة.

– القنوات والصحف التي يشغلها المال الخليجي المتشارك في الحرب على سورية تتلعثم وهي تتحدث عن الغارات الإسرائيلية وعن الصواريخ على تل أبيب وعن يوم المواجهة الشعبية في فلسطين وعن ضمّ الجولان، كأن ثمّة من ابتلع لسانه وبات عاجزاً عن الكلام، والمبادرة اليوم والكلمة الفصل للميدان، ومن يملك القدرة على التحرك في الميدان فريقان فقط، المقاومون والغزاة المحتلون، أما زمن الأدوات الصغيرة فيبتعد كلما بدت خيارات المواجهة أكثر قرباً. فهي لعبة الكبار ولا مكان للصغار فيها.

Related Videos

Related Articles

%d bloggers like this: