Pray For MH370

Pray For MH370

MAKLUMAT TENTANG REGIM ISRAEL DARI SUMBER CIA, AP, REUTERS DAN WIKIPEDIA


REGIME ISRAEL/ ZIONISTS


Background:

Following World War II, the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine, and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Subsequently, the Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. The territories Israel occupied since the 1967 war are not included in the Israel country profile, unless otherwise noted. On 25 April 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai pursuant to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.

In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, bilateral negotiations were conducted between Israel and Palestinian representatives and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. Israel and Palestinian officials signed on 13 September 1993 a Declaration of Principles (also known as the "Oslo Accords") guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. Outstanding territorial and other disputes with Jordan were resolved in the 26 October 1994 Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. In addition, on 25 May 2000, Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon, which it had occupied since 1982.

In April 2003, US President BUSH, working in conjunction with the EU, UN, and Russia - the "Quartet" - took the lead in laying out a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005, based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement was undermined by Israeli-Palestinian violence between September 2003 and February 2005. An Israeli-Palestinian agreement reached at Sharm al-Sheikh in February 2005, along with an internally-brokered Palestinian ceasefire, significantly reduced the violence.

In the summer of 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza Strip. The election of HAMAS in January 2006 to head the Palestinian Legislative Council froze relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Ehud OLMERT became prime minister in March 2006; following an Israeli military operation in Gaza in June-July 2006 and a 34-day conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon in June-August 2006, he shelved plans to unilaterally evacuate from most of the West Bank. OLMERT in June 2007 resumed talks with the PA after HAMAS seized control of the Gaza Strip and PA President Mahmoud ABBAS formed a new government without HAMAS.

Geography Israel
Location:
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
Geographic coordinates:
31 30 N, 34 45 E
Map references:
Middle East

Area:
total: 20,770 sq km
land: 20,330 sq km
water: 440 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:
total: 1,017 km
border countries: Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km
Coastline:
273 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation

Climate:
temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Terrain:
Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m

Natural resources:
timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand

Land use:
arable land: 15.45%
permanent crops: 3.88%
other: 80.67% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,940 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
1.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.05 cu km/yr (31%/7%/62%)
per capita: 305 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
limited arable land and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:
there are about 340 Israeli civilian sites - including 100 small outpost communities in the West Bank - as well as 42 sites in the Golan Heights, 0 in the Gaza Strip, and 29 in East Jerusalem (July 2008 est.); Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source

People Israel
Population:
7,112,359
note: includes about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, about 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (July 2008 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28% (male 1,018,229/female 971,083)
15-64 years: 62.2% (male 2,242,928/female 2,183,688)
65 years and over: 9.8% (male 303,289/female 393,142) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.9 years
male: 28.2 years
female: 29.7 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.713% (2008 est.)


Birth rate:
20.02 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Death rate:
5.41 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Net migration rate:
2.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.28 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.61 years
male: 78.54 years
female: 82.79 years (2008 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.77 children born/woman (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
100 (2001 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Israeli(s)
adjective: Israeli

Ethnic groups:
Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004)

Religions:
Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, unspecified 3.9% (2004)

Languages:
Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.1%
male: 98.5%
female: 95.9% (2004 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
6.9% of GDP (2004)


Government Israel
Country name:
conventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
local short form: Yisra'el

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Capital:
name: Jerusalem
geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Friday in March; ends the Sunday between the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

note: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the US, like nearly all other countries, maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv

Administrative divisions:
6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv

Independence:

14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May

Constitution:
no formal constitution; some of the functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws of the parliament (Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law; note - since May 2003 the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee of the Knesset has been working on a draft constitution

Legal system:
mixture of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and, in personal matters, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim legal systems; in December 1985, Israel informed the UN Secretariat that it would no longer accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Shimon PERES (since 15 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Ehud OLMERT (since May 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI;

note - Prime Minister OLMERT resigned on 17 September 2008, but will serve as acting prime minister until a new government is formed
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
elections: president is largely a ceremonial role and is elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term (one-term limit); election last held 13 June 2007 (next to be held in 2014 but can be called earlier); following legislative elections, the president assigns a Knesset member - traditionally the leader of the largest party - the task of forming a governing coalition
note: government coalition - Kadima, Labor Party, GIL (Pensioners), and SHAS
election results: Shimon PERES elected president; number of votes in first round - Shimon PERES 58, Reuven RIVLIN 37, Colette AVITAL 21; PERES elected president in second round with 86 votes (unopposed)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 March 2006 (next scheduled to be held in February 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - Kadima 22%, Labor 15.1%, SHAS 9.5%, Likud 9%, Yisrael Beiteinu 9%, NU/NRP 7.1%, GIL 5.9%, Torah and Shabbat Judaism 4.7%, Meretz-YAHAD 3.8%, United Arab List 3%, Balad 2.3%, HADASH 2.7%, other 5.9%; seats by party - Kadima 29, Labor 19, Likud 12, SHAS 12, Yisrael Beiteinu 11, NU/NRP 9, GIL 7, Torah and Shabbat Judaism 6, Meretz-YAHAD 5, United Arab List 4, Balad 3, HADASH 3
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (justices appointed by Judicial Selection Committee - made up of all three branches of the government; mandatory retirement age is 70)
Political parties and leaders:
Balad [Azmi BISHARA]; Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) [Muhammad BARAKEH]; GIL (Pensioners) [Rafael "Rafi" EITAN]; Kadima [Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI]; Labor Party [Ehud BARAK]; Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]; Meretz-Yachad [Haim ORON]; National Democratic Assembly (Balad) [Jamal ZAHALKA]; National Union (NU)/National Religious Party (NRP) [Binyamin ELON]; SHAS [Eliyahu YISHAI]; Torah and Shabbat Judaism or UTJ [Yaakov LITZMAN]; United Arab List [Ibrahim SARSUR]; Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
B'Tselem [Jessica MONTELL, Executive Director] monitors human rights abuses; Peace Now [Yariv OPPENHEIMER, Secretary General] supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; YESHA Council of Settlements [Danny DAYAN, Chairman] promotes settler interests and opposes territorial compromise
International organization participation:
BIS, BSEC (observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OAS (observer), OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), PCA, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Salai MERIDOR
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James B. CUNNINGHAM
embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903
mailing address: PSC 98, Box 29, APO AE 09830
telephone: [972] (3) 519-7575
FAX: [972] (3) 516-4390
consulate(s) general: Jerusalem; note - an independent US mission, established in 1928, whose members are not accredited to a foreign government
Flag description:
white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag
Economy Israel
Economy - overview:
Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with substantial, though diminishing, government participation. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Israel imports substantial quantities of grain but is largely self-sufficient in other agricultural products. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the leading exports. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans. Roughly half of the government's external debt is owed to the US, its major source of economic and military aid. Israel's GDP, after contracting slightly in 2001 and 2002 due to the Palestinian conflict and troubles in the high-technology sector, has grown by about 5% per year since 2003. The economy grew an estimated 5.4% in 2007, the fastest pace since 2000. The government's prudent fiscal policy and structural reforms over the past few years have helped to induce strong foreign investment, tax revenues, and private consumption, setting the economy on a solid growth path.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$185.8 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$161.9 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$26,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 30.2%
services: 67.1% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
2.894 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 18.5%, industry 23.7%, services 50%, other 7.8% (2002)
Unemployment rate:
7.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
21.6%

: Israel's poverty line is $7.30 per person per day (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 28.3% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
38.6 (2005)

Investment (gross fixed):
18.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $53.6 billion
expenditures: $53.63 billion (2007 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Public debt:
80.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.5% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
4% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.27% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:

$15.36 billion (31 December 2006)
Stock of quasi money:
$154.3 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$113.4 billion (31 December 2006)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products

Industries:

high-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, metals products, chemical products, plastics, diamond cutting, textiles, footwear
Industrial production growth rate:
4.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
48.7 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
44.74 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports:
1.844 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.9%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil - production:
5,966 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
232,300 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:
82,910 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:
334,300 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
1.94 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production:
970 million cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
970 million cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
30.44 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Current account balance:
$5.197 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:
$50.37 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel
Exports - partners:
US 35%, Belgium 7.5%, Hong Kong 5.8% (2007)
Imports:
$55.79 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
US 13.9%, Belgium 7.9%, Germany 6.2%, China 6.1%, Switzerland 5.1%, UK 4.7%, Italy 4.1% (2007)


Economic aid - recipient:
$240 million from US (FY06)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$28.52 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$89.95 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$57.97 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$41.96 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$173.3 billion (2006)
Currency (code):
new Israeli shekel (ILS); note - NIS is the currency abbreviation; ILS is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code for the NIS
Currency code:
ILS
Exchange rates:
new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar - 4.14 (2007), 4.4565 (2006), 4.4877 (2005), 4.482 (2004), 4.5541 (2003)


Communications Israel
Telephones - main lines in use:
3.005 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
8.902 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: most highly developed system in the Middle East although not the largest
domestic: good system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; all systems are digital; four privately-owned mobile-cellular service providers with countrywide coverage; mobile-cellular teledensity is 140 per 100 persons
international: country code - 972; submarine cables provide links to Europe, Cyprus, and parts of the Middle East; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 23, FM 15, shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios:
3.07 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
17 (plus 36 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
1.69 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.il
Internet hosts:
1.415 million (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
21 (2000)

Internet users:

2 million (2007)
Transportation Israel
Airports:
53 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 30
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 6 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 23
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 20 (2007)
Heliports:
3 (2007)
Pipelines:
gas 160 km; oil 442 km; refined products 261 km (2007)
Railways:
total: 853 km
standard gauge: 853 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:
total: 17,870 km
paved: 17,870 km (includes 146 km of expressways) (2007)
Merchant marine:
total: 11
by type: cargo 2, container 9
registered in other countries: 60 (Bermuda 3, Cyprus 4, Georgia 2, Honduras 1, Liberia 23, Malta 18, Panama 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Slovakia 4) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa

Military Israel
Military branches:
Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel Naval Forces (INF), Israel Air Force (IAF) (2007)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druzes) and voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 36 months for enlisted men, 21 months for enlisted women, 48 months for officers; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), 24 (women) (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,717,362
females age 16-49: 1,636,574 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,452,926
females age 16-49: 1,383,796 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 60,602
female: 57,532 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
7.3% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues Israel
Disputes - international
:
West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005; Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights); since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) headquartered in Jerusalem monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 150,000-420,000 (Arab villagers displaced from homes in northern Israel) (2007)
Illicit drugs:
increasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2008 (source cia year book)

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Israel is the only country in the world with an operational anti-ballistic missile defense system ("Hetz", Arrow, developed with funding and technology from the United States), though an operational system is in place protecting the Moscow area. Israel has also worked with the U.S. on development of a tactical high energy laser system against medium range rockets (called Nautilus or THEL).

Israel's military technology is most famous for its guns, armored fighting vehicles (tanks, tank-converted APCs, armoured bulldozers, etc.), unmanned aerial vehicles, and rocketry (missiles and rockets). Israel also has manufactured aircraft including the Kfir (reserve), IAI Lavi (canceled), and the IAI Phalcon Airborne early warning System, and naval systems (patrol and missile ships). Much of the IDF's electronic systems (intelligence, communication, command and control, navigation etc.) are Israeli-developed, including many systems installed on foreign platforms (esp. aircraft, tanks and submarines). So are many of its precision-guided munitions.


Israel has the independent capability of launching reconnaissance satellites into orbit (a capability which only Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the People's Republic of China, India, Japan and Ukraine hold). Both the satellites (Ofeq) and the launchers (Shavit) were developed by the Israeli security industries.

Israel is also said to have developed an indigenous nuclear capability, although no official details or acknowledgments have ever been publicized. On the issue of this nuclear weapons program, Israel chooses to follow a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

Israel has also recently purchased the brand new APC, The Wolf Armoured Vehicle, to be used in urban warfare and to protect VIPs.



In 1983, the United States and Israel established a Joint Political Military Group, which convenes twice a year. Both the U.S. and Israel participate in joint military planning and combined exercises, and have collaborated on military research and weapons development. Additionally the U.S. military maintains two classified, pre-positioned War Reserve Stocks in Israel valued at $493 million.[21] Israel has the official distinction of being an American Major non-NATO ally. As a result of this, The US and Israel share the vast majority of their security and military technology.

Since 1976, Israel had been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. In 2004, Israel was receiving $2.16 billion a year in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants from the Department of Defense. This amount has increased in recent years due to non-military economic aid being shifted to military aid. A large proportion of this military aid is for the purchase of American military equipment only.

Israeli military technology

The IDF possesses top-of-the-line weapons and computer systems used and recognized worldwide. Some are American-made (with some equipment being modified for IDF use) such as the M4A1 assault rifle, the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the AH-64 Apache and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. Israel also has developed its own independent weapons industry, which has developed weapons and vehicles such as the Merkava battle tank series, the Kfir fighter aircraft, and various small arms such as the Galil and Tavor assault rifles, and the Uzi submachine gun.

The IDF also has several large internal research and development departments, and it purchases many technologies produced by the Israeli security industries including IAI, IMI, Elbit, El-Op, Rafael, Soltam, and dozens of smaller firms. Many of these developments have been battle-tested in Israel's numerous military engagements, making the relationship mutually beneficial, the IDF getting tailor-made solutions and the industries a very high repute.




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US blok Tindakan Majlis Keselamatan PBB untuk gencatan senjata di Gaza

Israel invades: Tanks and troops roll in

AP Reports
GAZA CITY: Thousands of Israeli troops backed by columns of tanks and helicopter gunships launched a ground offensive in Gaza Saturday night, with officials saying they expected a lengthy fight in the densely populated territory after eight days of punishing airstrikes failed to halt militant rocket attacks on Israel.

The incursion set off fierce clashes with Palestinian militants and Gaza’s Hamas rulers vowed the coastal strip would be a “graveyard” for Israelis forces.

“This will not be easy and it will not be short,” Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on national television about two hours after ground troops moved in.

The night sky over Gaza was lit by the flash of bullets and balls of fire from tank shells. Sounds of explosions were heard across Gaza City, the territory’s biggest city, and high-rise buildings shook from the bigger booms.

As the ground troops moved in, Israel kept pounding Gaza with airstrikes. F-16 warplanes hit three targets within a few minutes, including a main Hamas security compound.

Witnesses in Gaza said that in the first phase, Israeli ground forces had moved several hundred yards inside Gaza. Israeli security officials said initial clashes with militants took place in open fields and soldiers did not immediately move into Gaza’s crowded cities, where warfare would likely get much deadlier.

“We have many, many targets,” Israeli army spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich told CNN. “To my estimation, it will be a lengthy operation.”

Israeli leaders said the operation, known as Cast Lead, was meant to quell militant rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel. They said it would not end quickly but that the objective was not to reoccupy Gaza or topple Hamas. The depth and intensity will depend in part on parallel diplomatic efforts that so far haven’t yielded a truce proposal acceptable to Israel, the officials said.

In the airborne phase of Israel’s onslaught, militants were not deterred from bombarding southern Israel with more than 400 rockets -- including dozens that extended deeper into Israel than ever before. They fired six rockets into Israel in the first few hours after the ground push began, the military said.

One rocket scored a direct hit on a house in the southern city of Ashkelon earlier Saturday and another struck a bomb shelter there, leaving its above-ground entrance scarred by shrapnel and blasting a parked bus.

“I don’t want to disillusion anybody and residents of the south will go through difficult days,” Barak said. “We do not seek war but we will not abandon our citizens to the ongoing Hamas attacks.”

Israel called up tens of thousands of reservists in the event Palestinian militants in the West Bank or Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon decide to exploit the broad offensive in Gaza to launch attacks against Israel on other fronts.

The military said the country’s north was on high alert in case Hezbollah guerillas decided to use its vast stockpiles of missiles against Israel. Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in the summer of 2006.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said US officials have been in regular contact with the Israelis as well as officials from countries in the region and Europe.

“We continue to make clear to them our concerns for civilians, as well as the humanitarian situation,” Johndroe said.

The UN Security Council scheduled emergency consultations Saturday night on the escalation in Gaza.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged key world leaders to intensify efforts to achieve an immediate truce including international monitors to enforce a truce and possibly to protect Palestinian civilians.

Israel’s bruising air campaign against Gaza over the past eight days began days after a six-month truce expired.

Gaza health officials say the air war has killed more than 480 Palestinians in an attempt to halt Hamas rocket attacks that were reaching farther into Israel than ever before. Four Israelis have been killed by rockets.

Israel is taking a risk by wading into intense urban warfare in densely populated Gaza that could exact a much higher toll on both sides and among civilians.

This sort of urban warfare has not gone well in past campaigns where Israel sent ground forces into Arab population centres in the Palestinian territories or in Lebanon wars in 1982 and 2006. Israeli forces have either gotten bogged down or sustained heavy casualties, without quelling violent groups or halting attacks for good.

The decision to expand the operation, while continuing to batter Gaza from the air and sea, was taken after Hamas refused to stop attacking Israel, government officials said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because discussions leading up to wartime decisions are confidential.

Before the ground incursion began, heavy Israeli artillery fire hit east of Gaza City, in locations where the military said Hamas fighters were deployed. The artillery shells were apparently intended to detonate Hamas explosive devices and mines planted along the border area before troops marched in.

Hamas remained defiant as the ground war began.

“You entered like rats,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan told Israeli soldiers in a statement on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV, broadcast shortly after the start of the invasion.

“Your entry to Gaza won’t be easy. Gaza will be a graveyard for you, God willing,” he said.

“Gaza will not be paved with flowers for you. It will be paved with fire and hell,” Hamas warned Israeli forces.

A text message sent by Hamas’ military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, said “the Zionists started approaching the trap which our fighters prepared for them.” Hamas said it also broadcast a Hebrew message on Israeli military radio frequencies promising to kill and kidnap the Israeli soldiers.

“Be prepared for a unique surprise, you will be either killed or kidnapped and will suffer mental illness from the horrors we will show you,” the message said.

Hamas has also threatened to resume suicide attacks inside Israel.

Hamas has long prepared for Israel’s invasion, digging tunnels and rigging some areas with explosives. At the start of the offensive, Israeli artillery hit some of the border areas, apparently to detonate hidden explosives.

Before the ground invasion, defense officials said about 10,000 Israeli soldiers had massed along the border in recent days.

Israel initially held off on a ground offensive, apparently in part because of concern about casualties among Israeli troops and because of fears of getting bogged down in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his government decided to mount a land operation despite the risk it posed to thousands of soldiers.

An inner Cabinet of top ministers met with leading security officials for four hours Saturday before deciding to authorize the ground invasion.

Olmert told the meeting that Israel’s objective was to bring quiet to southern Israel but “we don’t want to topple Hamas,” a government official quoted the prime minister as saying. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to share the information.

The immediate aim of the ground operations was to take control of sites militants use as rocket-launching pads, the military said. It said large numbers of troops were taking part but did not give specifics.

Israeli airstrikes intensified just as the ground operation was getting under way, and 28 Palestinians were killed. Palestinian health officials said civilians were among the dead, including a woman, her son and her father who died after a shell hit their house.

One raid hit a mosque in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, killing 13 people and wounding 33, according to a Palestinian health official. One of the wounded worshippers, Salah Mustafa, told Al-Jazeera TV from a hospital that the mosque was packed.

“It was unbelievably awful,” he said, struggling to catch his breath.

It was not immediately clear why the mosque was hit, but Israel has hit other mosques in its air campaign and said they were used for storing weapons.

Israeli artillery joined the battle for the first time earlier on Saturday. Artillery fire is less accurate than attacks from the air using precision-guided munitions, raising the possibility of a higher number of civilian casualties.

An artillery shell hit a house in Beit Lahiya, killing two people and wounding five, said members of the family living there. Ambulances could not immediately reach them because of the resulting fire, they said.

Resident Abed al-Ghoul said the Israeli army called by phone to tell them to leave the house within 15 minutes.

The ground operation sidelined intense international diplomacy to try to reach a truce. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was to visit the region next week, and US President George W. Bush favours an internationally monitored truce.

Israel has already said it wants international monitors. It is unclear whether Hamas would agree to such supervision, which could limit its control of Gaza.

In Hamas’ first reaction to the proposal for international monitors, government spokesman Taher Nunu said early Saturday that the group would not allow Israel or the international community to impose any arrangement, though he left the door open to a negotiated solution.

“Anyone who thinks that the change in the Palestinian arena can be achieved through jet fighters’ bombs and tanks and without dialogue is mistaken,” he said.

Hamas began to emerge as Gaza’s main power broker when it won Palestinian parliamentary elections three years ago. It has ruled the impoverished territory of 1.4 million people since seizing control from the rival Fatah forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in June 2007.

Israel occupied Gaza for 38 years before pulling out thousands of soldiers in settlers in late 2005.
However, Israel still control the gaza border crossings.

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