President Vladimir Putin demanded to know why Israel launched its Hizballah tunnel operation at this time, during a phone call with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday, Dec 8. That conversation was not exactly friendly, DEBKAfile reports. Netanyahu said he would send a military delegation to Moscow with an explanation. The delegation, led by Head of the IDF Operations Directorate Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, was due to fly to Moscow on Tuesday, Dec. 11, for a 24-hour stay and a briefing to Russian opposite numbers.
Some circles in the IDF high command were not happy with this concession to Putin’s peremptory demand.
- They remember how the Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam NUrkin and other officers were grilled and treated like liars when they traveled to Moscow in the third week of September to explain how the Russian IL-20 spy plane came to be shot down by Syria. Moscow has never offered any apology for this affront.
- It is feared that the data Gen. Haliva offers Russian officers will be passed to Iran and Hizballah.
- Why send a high-profile military delegation to Moscow when the Russian ambassador or military attaché at the Tel Aviv embassy could have requested and received the same briefing?
The IDF officers’ arrival in Moscow will be greeted by front-page spreads on Tuesday’s local newspapers illustrating Hizballah’s claim that its rockets can reach every corner of Israel.