Israel’s enemies—Hizbullah in the north, Hamas in the south, and Syria and Iran to the east—are stocking up missiles on an unprecedented scale. “Most of the rockets that are in the world today are pointed at Israel,” Avi Schnurr, executive director of the Israel Missile Defense Association, told The Media Line. “The work that has been done in Israel, the leadership shown in terms of missile defense, has been extraordinary.”
Matan Vilnai, Israel’s minister for Home Front Defense, told a conference on missile defense, “In the next conflict with Gaza, even if it is at a much lower intensity than a war, missiles will fall on Gush Dan—for all intents and purposes, inside [the metropolitan area of] Tel Aviv,” referring to the heavily populated center of the country [of over 3 million or 42% of Israel’s population]. He added, “Today, we understand that [in] the next war, there will be no difference between the rear and the front line.”
Syria’s formidable arsenal of Scud rockets are tipped with chemical and possibly biological warheads and can reach nearly every location in the country. “Syria possesses one of the largest ballistic missile-development programs in the region. Its arsenal already includes hundreds of mobile SCUD-class and short-range ballistic missiles,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose said.
Speaking at the missile conference, Rose said the US would continue to collaborate with Israel on its missile defenses and that it was soon dispatching to the region another early-warning radar system to enhance Israel’s missile-detection capabilities. Intelligence reports were leaked late in July saying that the embattled Syrian regime had been transferring missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon, including 10 Scud-D class rockets, due to the unrest sweeping the country. If true, this would mark the first time that a non-state organization holds such destructive weaponry.
The Israel Defense Force’s Home Front command is predicting that another confrontation with Hizbullah will see at least 400 rockets pounding Haifa. For this reason, it is working to turn the Carmel Tunnel into a public bomb shelter able to hold some 6,000 people. There are also plans to prepare a field hospital in the tunnel. The National Emergency Authority is also reportedly seeking legislation giving it the power to expropriate parking lots and other underground spaces to provide the public with vital services during an emergency.
While the leaders and commanders in Israel have been highlighting the risk of nuclear-tipped missiles from Iran, they have rarely spoken of the other—potentially more deadly in scope—threat that comes from chemical weapons. These are aimed at Israel in staggering quantities. According to the Israel Defense Web site, Germany has offered to give Israel eight TEP 90 decontamination systems free of charge.
In the future, the warheads are expected to be more numerous and deadlier. They won’t just damage apartment buildings, but topple them. Some have warheads weighing hundreds of kilos such as the M-600, Fateh-110 and Scud Ds with a nearly half-ton warhead. The drills are as much psychological preparation as they are physical.
Source: Excerpts of an article by Arieh O’Sullivan, The Media Line
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