Russia Sends 50 Troop Carriers to PA
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, announced in Ramallah on Tuesday that 50 Russian troop carriers would soon be delivered to the PA.
Lavrov told reporters that Moscow provided the carriers a few years ago, "but Israel refused to hand them over." Now, he said, "we have already sent the carriers. The vehicles arrived in Jordan and we hope they will arrive in the next few days." It was not clear if he expected Israel to block them again or allow them through.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in his famous Bar Ilan University speech last year expressing support for a Palestinian state, made it very clear that Israel would only agree to a demilitarized PA state.
Four years ago, in August 2006, Shabak chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that 15 tons of TNT, four million bullets, 15,000 guns, 2,300 pistols, 65 RPG launchers, dozen of anti-tanks missiles, 400 RPGs, and 5-10 Katyushas had been brought into Gaza alone in the year following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.
At the end of last year, Diskin evaluated that Hamas had recouped its losses from Operation Cast Lead, and was "now even stronger than it was then." A Lebanese commentator went further at about the same time, saying that Hamas was already as strong as Hizbullah was during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Hamas launched 640 Grad and Kassam rockets at Israel during the three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, as well as 224 mortar shells.