Barak’s talks in Washington focus on upgrade of Israel’s anti-missile capabilities against Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Palestinians

Ehud Barak, on his first visit to Washington as Israel’s defense minister, met Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday night, Oct. 17, and is scheduled to call in at the White House Thursday to meet with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Tuesday, Barak spent many hours talking to defense secretary Robert Gates and Pentagon heads. They agreed to set up a joint team to work on developing a multifaceted missile system for intercepting ballistic missiles from Iran and Syria, including an upgrade of the Arrow anti-missile missile, and the short-range arms fired by Hizballah in last year’s Lebanon War and daily by Palestinians in Gaza.
On the same day, Israel’s defense chiefs showed prime minister Olmert around the Arrow anti-missile battery unit at Palmachim.
The Iron Dome system which Israel is developing needs another two to three years’ work before it is ready to shoot down short-range Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza. Israel reports Hamas efforts to produce Qassam missiles on the West Bank within range of its central heartland.

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