Massacre Continues in Palestine
Another day and another terrorist attack by the Israelis killed two Palestinians, a woman and a man in the Gaza Strip. Seven others, including a number of children, were wounded in the blast which hit a house in Khan Younis.
Israel has killed at least 11 Palestinian civilians in air strikes in recent days, many of them children.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli missile strike on a car killed three children.
On 13 June, eight civilians were killed in a similar attack.
Israeli terrorism continues and the world, surprisingly, remains silent.
India, till today, remains the closest ally to Israel from Asia.
Israel has emerged as India's second largest supplier of military equipment (after Russia), with sales of nearly Rs 120 billion over the last three years. (This amounts to about $900 million per year, as compared to $1.5 billion per year from Russia.) The range of India's purchases is considerable. The most important agreement is India's $1.1 billion purchase of Phalcon early warning radar and communications systems, Israel's largest arms sale. Other important deals include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force; sea-to-sea missiles; border monitoring equipment; night vision devices; artillery; artillery radars; fast attack naval craft; an electronic warfare system for the INS Virat; and ammunition. India's shopping list is much longer, and includes missile defence systems.
The two countries are also planning to collaborate on the design and manufacture of certain weapons; and Israel will participate in India's planned mission to the moon ('Chandrayaan I'), with funds and perhaps a second, Israeli, satellite.
Growing Indo-Israeli military cooperation is evidenced by the repeated exchange visits of senior military officials. since the UPA government assumed office in May 2004, the vice-chief of the Army, the chief of the Navy, and the chief of the Air Force have visited Israel, and the chief of the Israeli Army has visited India. One aspect of this cooperation is training. Israel is training upto 3,000 Indian commandos in urban warfare and counter-insurgency operations, and India's Cabinet Committee on Security has decided to solicit Israeli training for four new Special Forces counter-insurgency battalions for Kashmir.2 India's Border Security Force has proposed specialised training for its officers in Israel, since the latter has "a long history of guarding its borders along the Palestinian territories effectively."3 Israel, on the other hand, wants to use the facilities of India's Jungle Warfare and Counter-Insurgency School in Mizoram to train its forces.
Beyond this, however, is a strategic element. Israel wants a sea-borne force armed with nuclear weapons. Martin Sherman, a senior Israeli analyst, writes that the Mediterranean is not the ideal location for such a force, as a number of littoral states are unfriendly to Israel. In this regard, the Indian Ocean, as location... facilitating the deployment and maintenance of this capability could well assume vital importance.... Of course, for the establishment and operation of such a maritime venture, cooperation with the Indian navy would be vital. In this regard, it is especially significant that in 2000, Israeli submarines reportedly conducted test launches of cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the waters of the Indian Ocean off the Sri Lanka coast.
The two countries' intelligence services have established close relations. The Israeli intelligence services have been allowed, like the FBI, to open an office in Delhi. A joint commission has been set up at the ministerial level for cooperation in 'combating terrorism'. There are reports that Israel's secret service, Mossad, will train Indian intelligence personnel.
The political relationship between the two countries was most explicitly stated by India's National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, in his May 8, 2003 address to the American Jewish Committee:
India, the United States, and Israel have some fundamental similarities. We are all democracies, sharing a common vision of pluralism, tolerance and equal opportunity.... The US, India and Israel have all been prime targets of terrorism. They have to jointly face the same ugly face of modern day terrorism.... As the main targets of international terrorism, democratic countries should form a viable alliance against terrorism...
Thus in the 2001 Durban conference on racism, India blocked attempts by Arab countries to include a sharp censure of Israel's anti-Arab policies in the conference's final resolution. Shimon Peres, then Israeli foreign minister, warmly praised India's action, which helped "tipping the scales on the side of justice". When, in September 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited India, the Indian side made no mention of the Palestinian question. And when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited India in May 2005, the Indian government hosted him in a deliberately low-key fashion, calling for an end to 'violence' but neglecting to condemn Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza.
Further, the Indian government wants to use the services of the pro-Israel lobby in the US both as support to, and a model for, its own lobbying activities in Washington.
For India, Israel and its affiliated lobbies in Washington can be a useful instrument, for promoting New Delhi's case on the Pakistani issue. This was a topic raised in a recent trilateral meeting held this month in New Delhi, attended by Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA), the influential Washington-based think tank, former Israeli intelligence chiefs and Indian security and defence experts. - Martin Sherman