DEBKAfile Exclusive: Israel’s inner cabinet in urgent session Wednesday to discuss advanced Iranian nuclear bomb timeline to 2009
November 7, 2007, 10:55 AM (GMT+02:00)
The inner cabinet meets Wed. Nov. 7, to discuss the shortened timeline estimate for Iran to attain a nuclear weapons capacity, based on new intelligence information. IDF intelligence chief Brig. Yossi Baidatz told the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday that Iran would have this capacity by late 2009, whereas the previous estimate was 2010 or 2011.
Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi told a radio interviewer that the new timeline made 2008 the critical year for grappling once and for all with the Iranian program.
The new data was put before the ministers ahead of their meeting Wednesday. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that American nuclear and intelligence experts agree on the timetable after poring over the new intelligence input. This includes materials gathered in the Israel attack of Syria’s nuclear installation on Sept. 6. They have reached three key conclusions:
1. That Iran is engaged in the secret production of plutonium for nuclear weapons as well as radioactive materials for a dirty bomb, in parallel to its uranium enrichment projects. Israeli intelligence has believed this for three years, but until the operation in Syria there was no concrete evidence. This discovery is at the center of the current US-Israeli controversy with the International Atomic Energy Agency- IAEA, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei.
If he accepts the evidence, it will be an admission that his vast inspection apparatus in Vienna, whose job it is to watch out for nuclear misdemeanors across the world, missed out twice – in Iran and then in Syria. Dr. ElBaradei might then face the suspicion that his work is governed by political rather than professional motivations.
Up until now, the nuclear watchdog’s chief has not sent inspectors to examine Israel’s findings at the two Syrian sites targeted. He evidently fears they will come back with evidence of plutonium-related nuclear activity.
2. The working premise followed by American and Israeli intelligence is that if Syria was on the road to manufacturing plutonium, Iran must be far more advanced on this course and must be presumed to have begun manufacturing enough waste for dirty bombs and very likely also the materials for a nuclear bomb.
This premise demands a radical reassessment by the United States and Iran’s Gulf and Middle East neighbors of their options for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat and essential restructuring of the Israel military’s functions to meet a possible radioactive attack by Iran or its terrorist proxies close closer at hand.
3. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that these developments throw new light on the role of the Iranian heavy water plant at Arak, whose capacity to produce plutonium places it at the center of Iran’s nuclear program.
Group of right-wing rabbis writes open letter to US president demanding he cancel Annapolis summit or risk provoking 'wrath of the almighty.' Rabbis assert Katrina disaster a result of America's support of 2005 disengagement, say California fires a warning Neta Sela
Published: 11.06.07, 19:57 / Israel Jewish Scene
A fringe group of prominent ultranationalist rabbis issued a harshly-worded letter to United States President George W. Bush earlier this week, warning him that the upcoming Annapolis peace conference would bring destruction upon America.
The rabbis evoke their previous prediction in 2005, when they published an open letter to Bush in the New York Times, demanding the US rescind its support of the disengagement plan.
"We wrote to President Bush, a man who believes in the Bible, to warn him against the terrible danger to which he is exposing his country by hosting such a conference," said Rabbi Meir Druckman, one of signatories to the letter.
"The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. God punishes anyone who coerces Israel to give up its land," he said.
"There is no doubt the New Orleans flood from the Katrina hurricane was God's punishment for evicting the settlements," said Druckman, "with hundreds of thousands left homeless, hundreds killed or wounded and billions of dollars sent down the drain – can we really ignore God's hand collecting an eye for an eye?"
The disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank was completed August 23rd, 2005 – which was also the date Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas.
"Despite those consequences, yet again we find ourselves facing an initiative to expel Jews from Judea and Samaria and cede their cities to terror organizations. And once again the patrons of the event are President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"This time the Almighty is warning the US in advance: if the plague of water was not enough now he shall send flames. While hundreds of thousands of families have already fled the terrible fires in California, and we ask you, will you really forge ahead with this malevolent plan?" added Druckman.
The letter was authored by SOS Israel, a right-wing movement which earlier this year distributed citations to IDF soldiers who disobeyed orders and refused to take part in the disengagement.
Among the rabbis who signed the letter are several leading religious figures, including Rabbis Dov Wolfa, Yekutiel Rap, Gedalia Axelrod as well as the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, Dov Lior and the son of former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Yaakov Yosef.