TEL AVIV (Jul. 12)
A leading Israeli military commentator suggested Wednesday that the spate of air raids on terrorist targets in southern Lebanon is a direct consequence of Likud’s control of the government.
Ze’ev Schiff, writing in Ha’aretz, believes the temporary halt in aerial activity over Lebanon which preceded the latest raids was probably due to political considerations and differences within the former unity government.
Now with Likud dominating a narrow coalition, many of the restraints against aerial action have been removed, he said.
“It is also logical to assume that Moshe Arens’ occupancy of the Defense Ministry has made it easier for the Israel Defense Force to obtain authorization for attack operations when he is confronted with reports of enemy intentions to attack Israel,” Schiff wrote.
Israel has mounted 16 air attacks against targets in Lebanon so far this year, four of them between July 6 and 9.
Arens claimed Monday that the IDF had intelligence reports indicating terrorists were planning to attack Israel on hang gliders.
Another commentator writing in Ha’aretz, Eitan Rabin, claimed that hang gliders and very light aircraft were being added to the terrorists’ arsenal and posed a serious security threat to Israel.
A person buckled to the contraption soars with air currents and can control direction. The gliders are silent and evade radar detection, making them ideally suited for clandestine use.
According to the Ha’aretz writer, “a number of companies in the past sold significant amounts of hang gliders to terrorists. Ahmed Jabril’s organization acquired 10.”