Also in today’s Toronto Star, Middle East bureau chief Mitch Potter explains why yesterday’s rocket attack on Ashkelon — "the deepest strike ever into Israeli territory" — presents a serious new threat to Israel:
"Ashkelon is a coastal city of substance, boasting 120,000 Israelis, plenty of industry and three particularly sensitive pieces of infrastructure that feed no small part of the oil, water and electrical needs of the nation…
The strike on Ashkelon … exposes three extremely strategic vulnerabilities certain to alter the tenor of debate within Israel’s security cabinet. The sensitive sites include:
- The Rotenberg Power Plant, Israel’s second-largest generating station which supplies an estimated quarter of the country’s needs.
- The Ashkelon Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant, the largest desalination plant of its kind in the world. Launched last August, the facility is ramping up to provide an annual flow of 100 million cubic litres of water, an estimated 15 per cent of domestic demand.
- The Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company, which controls three oil pipelines reaching to the port cities of Eilat, Ashdod and Haifa."