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Navy Successfully Tests Barak Defensive Missile


The Israel Navy announced Sunday that it conducted a successful test firing of the Barak anti-missile system, featuring an improved version of the missile that includes upgrades to its rocket interception capabilities.

Launched in a vertical position, the Barak is able to fire at any target 360 degrees around a ship and saves deck space. The need for the upgrade was demonstrated during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, when Hizbullah terrorists used Iranian weaponry against a navy ship.

Iran to Israel: Hit Us and We'll Strike Your Nuclear Facilities


The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said this weekend that the Persian theocracy would strike Israel's nuclear facilities if Jerusalem attacked the Islamic state, Reuters, quoting Iran's state TV said.

"If the Zionist Regime (Israel) attacks Iran, we will surely strike its nuclear facilities with our missile capabilities," warned Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards' commander. "Our missile capability puts all of the Zionist regime (Israel) within Iran's reach to attack." He added that his country "was not scared" of Israel's military capabilities. "It is part of the psychological war that the West has launched against Iran," Jafari told his audience.

Iranian leaders have said in the past that Iran would retaliate for any attack from Israel by targeting U.S. interests and Israel.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Hizbullah, an Iranian proxy militia in Lebanon, estimated that Israel would go on the attack "between the end of this year and next spring," according to Al-Jadid, a Lebanese television channel.

Nasrallah told a group of Lebanese exiles visiting the country that his group intends to target Tel Aviv if the Dahiya is attacked again. The Dahiya headquarters of Hizbullah were demolished by Israel in the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that a nuclear Iran could be contained by a U.S. "defense umbrella." Since making the remark on a television show in Thailand, however, Clinton has backpedaled. She explained that was only restating existing policy and not referring to formal guarantees of protection under a U.S. nuclear umbrella.

In response to statements by Israeli officials who thought remarks meant that the U.S. was resigned to a nuclear-armed Iran, Clinton and other State Department officials were quick to reassure Israel that a nuclear Iran was still unacceptable and that there was no change in U.S. policy.

In related news, a senior U.S. source told Asharq Al-Awsat that if there is a war against Iran, Barack Obama's presidency "will be over" and so will the peace process in the Middle East. "An American war on Iran would mean entering a 20-year battle with the Islamic world starting from Afghanistan and Iraq to Iran," according to the major pan-Arabic newspaper's reporter Huda Al Husseini.

"I understood from my source that Obama cannot launch a war against Iran until conditions stabilize," Husseini wrote. "He cannot embark on a war without negotiating the issue." Such a war would be "difficult and costly," she noted, claiming that senior officers in the U.S. army oppose it, asking – "how can we not live with a nuclear Iran if we can live with a nuclear Pakistan, which is less stable than Iran?"

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will head to Israel along with George Mitchell, the special U.S. envoy to the Middle East, on July 27, for talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Al Husseini speculated that "one of them will talk about war and the other about peace."

Report Details Future Palestinian State


An Israeli-Palestinian document stipulates travel routes, security measures and final borders for a Palestinian state, an Israeli paper said.

The document published in Yediot Acharonot Friday reveals for the first time plans for a gradual Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank in a 30-month period, travel restrictions for Israelis and Palestinians, security arrangements and details of the final borders.

Three West Bank highways would be designated for sole Israeli use. Motorists will not have to carry passports but will be provided with a GPS tracking system and panic button for the trip, the paper said.

A motorist who strays from the designated route and enters a Palestinian controlled area, will be arrested by members of a multinational force, and returned to Israel to stand trial, the paper said.

The document was completed in recent months by a joint Israeli-Palestinian team, and made available to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East envoy Gen. Jim Jones, the paper said.

Palestinians entering Israel would have to pass though permanent border terminals and undergo passport checks and customs clearance, the paper said.

Palestinians and Israelis would be able to enter Jerusalem's Old City without carrying passports. A multinational force stationed in the Old City would be on hand to enforce law and order, and would have the power to make arrests, the paper said. A separate multinational force would be deployed on the Temple Mount.

The document fails to stipulate the size of the future Palestinian security force and the weapons it would be permitted to use, but clearly outlines the weapons it will be barred from using, the paper said. The items include tanks, rockets, laser weapons, combat helicopters and planes, armed maritime vessels and weapons of mass destruction, the paper said.

Cockatoo Stolen from Kibbutz Identifies Owner, Screeching 'Dad'

By Ha'aretz

When the Taibeh police raided on Sunday a property suspected of housing stolen goods, they were surprised to discover a white cockatoo among the plasma televisions and other equipment.

Following an investigation, police suspected that the cockatoo was "Looly," a parrot worth tens of thousands of shekels who had been stolen two weeks earlier from the "Eli's Jungle" pet shop at kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon. Looly had been raised by the owner and his relatives from the day he hatched.

Indeed, when the store's owner, Eli Tamam, arrived with his daughter at the police station, the cockatoo immediately recognized them, jumped toward the girl and called out "'Dad,' 'dad'" to Eli, while clinging to the girl's shoulder and refusing to let go.

The raid was carried out as part of an initiative by the Taibeh police, under the authority of Commander Gil Rotem, and with the assistance of the Border Police. Police suspect the equipment had been stolen in recent weeks by a gang of burglars that had been operating in the Sharon region.

Once the policemen discovered the cockatoo, they hurried to contact Tamam, who had complained two weeks earlier about break-ins in which five rare parrots were stolen. "The moment we arrived at the station and the cop opened the door, the cockatoo yelled at me, 'Dad, dad' and ran in the direction of my daughter, climbed on her shoulder and started kissing her," Tamam said. "It was like a very successful line-up."

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