The rhetoric which seems to be leading to war in the Middle East continues, and Israel makes a fascinating announcement:
"Israel unveils new drone fleet that can reach Iran"
For those of us who have been wondering what Israel has been waiting for - perhaps this is the answer. Quotes from the article:
"Israel's air force on Sunday introduced a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and could fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range."
"The Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of Boeing 737 passenger jets and the largest unmanned aircraft in Israel's military. The planes can fly at least 20 consecutive hours and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying diverse payloads."
"With the inauguration of the Heron TP, we are realizing the air force's dream," said Brig. Gen. Amikam Norkin, commander of the base that will operate the drones. "The Heron TP is a technological and operational breakthrough."
The Jerusalem Post added more interesting information (article here).
"It can fly at medium-to-high altitudes for more than 20 hours, while carrying a variety of payloads and advanced equipment weighing hundreds of kilograms for thousands of kilometers."
"The air force expects a squadron of Heron TPs to be formed this year."
"Despite its mammoth proportions, its engine is quiet, so it can be used in covert operations."
I find it hard to believe that that its simply a coincidence that this aircraft can reach Iran, as stated in each article. Obviously, this aircraft was built with Iran in mind. This represents a very interesting development in the ongoing tensions between Israel and Iran.
Another interesting news story in the category of "Rumors of War" - we see the following:
"20 Ships to Head for Clash in Gaza"
"The Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation announced that a fleet of 20 ships would be sent to break Israel’s embargo on Hamas-run Gaza two months from now. Five of the ships will be under the auspices of IHH; the support of charitable businessmen in Turkey is being sought for funding to purchase them."
This may be interesting to watch as well.
Another article of interest:
"Israel rejects recognition of Palestinian state"
" Israel on Sunday rejected the idea of foreign countries recognising a Palestinian state without a negotiated peace agreement, after France's foreign minister hinted at such a scenario."
"France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said over the weekend he could envision the recognition of a Palestinian state even before its borders are drawn up."
"The issue before us at the moment is the building of a reality: France is training Palestinian police, businesses are being created in the West Bank," Kouchner told France's Journal du Dimanche.
"It follows that one can envision the proclamation soon of a Palestinian state, and its immediate recognition by the international community, even before negotiating its borders," he said.
There is a lot of talk within the UN (and now, apparently the EU), that the "world" should just go ahead and create a Palestinian State, and ignore Israel in the process. France's foreign minister seems to agree with this idea. Obviously the Israeli administration will fight this, but the drumbeat seems to grow louder by the day. It is beyond amazing to think that the "international community" (for lack of a better word) could literally redraw Israeli borders without their consent, but that is exactly what is being proposed. We'll be watching to see how this develops.
It seems like there is rarely a quiet day in the Middle East right now. I keep saying that this summer could be when things erupt, but perhaps it won't be that long - the palpable tension in the region and the increasing rhetoric which worsens by the day, makes one wonder if it will take until summer for things to erupt. We will see.