On September 17 and 18, 2012, Israel and the Jews celebrate the New Year, Rosh HaShana. Few would guess that such a trivial topic is at the heart of a religious struggle. Even among themselves, the Jews cannot agree on a single date for the event. Jewish traditions recognize four New Year’s Eves on every year. The commonest is Rosh HaShana (“Head of the Year” in Hebrew), which is celebrated the first day of the month of Tishrei, in September or October. The Gregorian date changes because the Hebrew calendar is lunar in nature, meaning it wobbles in cycles of 19 years. The oddest one is Tu Bishvat (literally “15th of Shvat”), the “The New Year of the Trees.” It is said from that date onwards, trees feed on the rains of the current year, rather that on undeground water reserves. The other two are celebrated in the months of Nissan and Elul, near Passover and Rosh HaShana respectively. While searching for a topic suitable for this year event, I found that this Jewish New Year looks like an end instead of a renewal…
Israel’s Foggy New Year
Back in Entebbe
Israel’s Prime Minister was the best source to search for an inspirational message for this New Year. Unluckily, Benjamin Netanyahu is a limited type of leader. Give him a tiny military event like Operation Entebbe and he shines; give him a strategic theatre and he becomes a hesitating patsy of his American supporters. In recent months, Netanyahu kept warning that time is running out for an attack on Iran; pretty soon all nuclear installations of the latter country would be utterly protected against bombings. This mantra must be seen in the context that this year, Netanyahu will face elections. He is bound to win them; however, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak has no chance of keeping his position unless he conducts a successful war before the elections.
The most catastrophic event in the history of the State of Israel—an event that almost for sure will bring its end—is about to be decided by two ego-manic former-Sayeret-Matkal-officers seeking re-election. This is a no-return decision. Once Israel strikes, Iran will retaliate. Both sides agree that there are roughly 200,000 missiles aimed at Israel and not enough anti-missiles weapons to stop them.
If Netanyahu decides on such an attack, it probably won’t be conducted along the lines published by mainstream media. Israel has only one strike opportunity. An air attack is improbable; the flight time of planes is so long that they can be easily intercepted. A few months ago, Israel reported that Iran Hit an American Satellite. If true, the same weapon can be adapted against planes. An attack by Israel with Jericho missiles is more probable. However, in both scenarios targeting all the relevant military installations would be impossible in the actual parameters of the conflict. Instead, Israel will attempt a decapitation of the Iranian regime. The retaliatory answer by Iran is unlikely to leave anything of what is usually referred to as State of Israel. Netanyahu couldn’t provide inspirational renewal this year.
Palestine to Revoke Oslo Agreements
At the beginning of 2012, I published Will Abbas Dismantle the Palestinian Authority?, where I analyzed reports from the Palestinian Authority that claimed the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was about to send a letter to Israel announcing the dismantlement of the Palestinian Authority due to the Israeli violations of the Oslo Agreements. The step made sense, and would have opened the way to deal with the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Eventually this didn’t materialize; however, this New Year’s Eve, the topic was revived.
On September 18, the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the Secretary General of the PLO's Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinian President is considering presenting the PLO's Executive Committee with a proposal to unilaterally annul the Oslo Agreements after the upcoming UN General Assembly session in New York. That session will take place next week in New York. In parallel, Abbas sent Happy New Year's greetings to Israel. Who said he doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat White House, September 13, 1993
Germany’s Special Gift
In the last year, the relations between Germany and Israel had been complicated. Both countries signed several agreements that would enlarge Israel’s submarine fleet to nine boats by the end of this year (see Six Million Submarines and Six Million Ships). However, after Germany tried to force Israel to behave humanly towards the Palestinians, Israel publicly humiliated Germany. The saga continued with two very clear German answers. First, it announced it would supply Pakistan with submarines, thus
creating a new nuclear front in the Middle East. However, as a special gift for the New Year, Germany announced that it also would supply Egypt’s new regime—closely affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood—with two Type 209 attack submarines. On September 16, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the Frankfurter Rundschau “No country in the world has the right of veto to decisions taken by the German government,” while admitting that Egypt was “not as stable as he would like.” Happy New year Israel!
Iran’s Special Gift
Given the ongoing belligerent Israeli rhetoric towards Iran, the latter was unlikely not to send a special New Year’s gift to the Zionist micro-empire. On September 18, the Chief of Islamic Republic's Naval Forces announced that it had successfully repaired and launched its Tareq 901 submarine, despite the fact that Moscow insisted it be repaired in Russia. The submarine was reintroduced along with a Sahand Destroyer, as per the instructions of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A few days before that, Iranian media claimed that Tehran is about to unveil a new type of independently-produced long-range cruise missile, which could be launched from land, sea, and air. Probably this is related to the new destroyer and sub. In other words, Iran announced to Israel that it is too late for any Israeli attack.
Tareq 901 Submarine | Iranian Naval Forces
Rosh HaShana Blessing
The picture is clear. It is so clear, that Israel’s candidate for the USA Presidency—Mitt Romney—said during a private fund-raiser that the “Middle East Peace Process was likely to remain an unsolved problem.” The private message was soon afterwards leaked to mainstream media. Instead of facing a year of renewal and prosperity, Israel has been kicked back to 1947 and is struggling for its independence. As it looks now, this time the result would be different.