PLO reports new Gaza truce, Hamas denies and shoots rockets. Israel is silent, retaliates with air strikes
DEBKAfile Special Report August 14, 2014
The confusion reigning Thursday morning, Aug. 14, was stirred up by contradictory words and actions around the latest truce mirage in the Gaza war. Hamas rocket fire started two hours before the last 72-hour ceasefire was scheduled to end Wednesday midnight, and continued up until 2 a.m. Thursday – namely before and after PLO-Ramallah envoys in Cairo and Egyptian officials announced a new five-day ceasefire, which Hamas-Gaza denied. No Israeli official was available to confirm or deny. The Israeli air force hit back for Hamas rockets. Indirect talks will “apparently” resume in Cairo Sunday.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2014
The seventh truce in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict is generally expected to end Wednesday night Aug. 13, with fresh hostilities triggered by Hamas rockets. The Cairo talks never got off the ground because the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians were unbridgeable, and the Palestinian team was moreover divided against itself. This time, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon are preparing broad action in response to Palestinian rocket fire. They know that the public and the army too have run out of patience with half-measures.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 10, 2014
In response to Egyptian mediation, Israel is ready to shrink the security zone inside the Gaza Strip by 200 meters, provided the Palestinian Hamas observes a further 72-hour ceasefire going into effect at midnight Sunday, Aug. 10, debkafile reports. And if the truce holds overnight, Israeli negotiators will return to Cairo Monday morning to resume the talks interrupted by Hamas rocket fire Friday. debkafile further reports that Israel may also allow Gaza Strip to have a seaport at some time in the future, in return for the territory’s demilitarization.
Islamist fundamentalists gain tactical advantage over the US and Israel in Gaza and Irbil, 1,372 km apart
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 9, 2014
While different in many ways, the campaigns waged by the US in northern Iraq against Al Qaeda’s IS, and by Israel in Gaza against Hamas, share common features. President Obama won’t put US special forces back in Iraq and, for very different reasons, Israeli leaders abstained from sending special forces deep inside the Gaza Strip to eliminate the Hamas high command and its main rocket stocks. Both have fallen into the same error of relying on air strikes to eliminate Islamist fundamentalists on the march. And so neither conflict will end soon.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 8, 2014
Hours before the 72-hour Gaza ceasefire was due to expire Friday morning, Aug. 8, the Palestinian Hamas’ military wing slapped down an ultimatum before Israel: Either allow the Gaza Strip to have an open seaport – which would be tantamount to lifting the Gaza blockade - or prepare for a long and brutal war of attrition with thousands of fatalities. Abu Obeida, spokesman of Hamas’ military wing, Ezz e-Din Al-Qassam, announced that their new rockets with large warheads would strike Ben Gurion airport and cut Israel off from its air transport links.
IDF quietly carves out 1-3km security strip while pulling troops out of Gaza. A humanitarian truce declared
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 4, 2014
While withdrawing the bulk of its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, the IDF has been quietly carving out an off-limits cordon sanitaire just inside the Gaza border. It is designed to be controlled from the outside by special forces and armored units on round-the-clock alert to bar hostile infiltrations and equipped with a battery of firing posts, sensors and drones. The strip runs 65km from Beit Hanoun in the north to Khan Younis in the south (see map). Israel has turned to acting unilaterally in respect of its own security needs rarther Hamas' price for a truce.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 2, 2014
As the first Israel troops pulled out of Gaza Saturday night, Aug. 2, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged that Operation Defense Edge would continue until security and calm were restored – however long it takes. But in his televised news conference, he also said: “The IDF will deploy according to the needs of Israel’s security – and only Israel’s security.” debkafile: The new slogan signals a switch to a unilateral policy and a decision to redeploy the bulk of Israel’s ground troops outside the Gaza Strip in offensive formation – even before achieving all its goals.
Hamas denies knowing captive officer’s whereabouts, says he may have died. IDF continues to blast Rafah
DEBKAfile Special Report August 2, 2014
Hamas’ military wing claimed Saturday, Aug. 2, to have lost contact with the abductors of 2nd lt. Hadar Goldin and believes they were all killed in the subsequent Israeli bombardment of Rafah. All Friday night until early Saturday, Israeli jets, tanks and heavy artillery continued to pound parts of the town. The Palestinians say they lost 150 dead – 70 in Rafah. Regarding the Cairo talks, Israel notes that Hamas has proved six times that any ceasefire deal it signs will breached and the lull used for surprise attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
DEBKAfile Special Report August 1, 2014
Israel informed US Secretary Kerry Friday, Aug. 1, of its withdrawal from the 72-hour truce after gross Hamas violations which peaked in an attack on an IDF tunnel team in Rafah in which two soldiers were killed and Israeli Givati officer, 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba, was abducted. The White House condemned the Hamas violation as “barbaric.” Hamas also breached the truce with a score of rockets and mortar shells. IDF tanks, artillery, air force and special forces retaliated in southern Gaza. Hamas and Islamic Jihad report many dead.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 1, 2014
Although it would take at least a week to destroy Hamas’ terror tunnels, Netanyahu looks for a quicker exit from Gaza war and sets up an Israeli buffer zone inside territory’s edge.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 1, 2014
The transcript of a tense conversation between Netanyahu and Obama exposes the increasing rift between the two leaders, with the Israelis frustrated that the US favors Hamas.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 1, 2014
Mohammed Deif is rarely seen in public and has survived several Israeli assassination attempts, but the Hamas military commander has final say in all decisions and is running the Gaza war from his hideout.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 31, 2014
The Israeli Air Force destroyed 40 mosques converted into rocket and arms stores inside Gaza Tuesday night, July 20. Ending the rocket threat is deemed as important as the destruction of terror tunnels. Both projects continue apace as the IDF prepares for an order to terminate the ground stage of the Gaza operation. The air force brought forward the battlefield debut of the new Hermes 900 UAV, known as “Star,” to take advantage of its exceptional ability to perform surveillance and communication work at high altitudes while carrying a heavy weapons load.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 30, 2014
Three Israeli soldiers were killed and 27 injured in the Gaza Strip Wednesday, July 30, the 23rd day of Israel’s counter-terror operation. The cabinet has decided to expand the Gaza mission. Maj. Gen. Sami Torjeman, OC Southern Command, told reporters that the soldiers had fought “stubbornly,” and “seriously impaired” Hamas’ strength. They had won every one of their direct engagements with Hamas. Hundreds of enemy fighters have been killed, including scores of Hamas’ elite troops and some of their commanders who were hunkered down in hideouts.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 30, 2014
Despite the rush of diplomats and analysts declaring that an imminent ceasefire would soon stamp out the fighting in Gaza, the war refuses to end. They failed to reckon on the conflict acquiring a religious dimension and fresh impetus. Wednesday, July 30, as Israel’s longest and toughest war since the War of Independence, went into its 49th day, the commander of Hamas’ military wing, master-terrorist Mohammed Deif, proclaimed the Gaza conflict a religious jihad which soldiers “eager for death” would fight until victory and bring Israeli soldiers to “certain defeat.”
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 29, 2014
That nine of the 10 Israeli servicemen killed in the counter-terror operation against Hamas Monday, July 28, died on Israeli soil was a wake-up call for Israel’s war leaders. It meant that Hamas had used the 22 days of combat to carry the contest from its own home ground into Israel by grabbing the tactical advantage of surprise, as illustrated by the tragic Nahal Oz tunnel episode which cost 5 Israeli lives. debkafile: The tunnel threat can’t be eliminated without first seizing Hamas war rooms, the hub of its elaborate underground network.
Hamas’ first nocturnal rocket attack on Tel Aviv. Israel lost 10 servicemen Sunday - five defending Nahal Oz
DEBKAfile Special Report July 29, 2014
A decision to push ahead for the next stage of Israel’s counter-terror offensive in the Gaza Strip was widely expected Monday night, July 28, after a day of deadly coordinated attacks by Hamas, supposedly a ceasefire day, cost 10 soldiers’ lives. The IDF was braced to respond operationally by advancing to the next stage of its counter-terror campaign. But the order did not come. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon continued to clutch at the straw of a viable ceasefire – even though Hamas has violated every truce.
Netanyahu’s dilemma: Back Obama’s save Hamas policy, or fight for its downfall with Egypt and Saudis
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 28, 2014
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was wavering Sunday, July 27, between sticking with his understsanding with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to crush Hamas, at the cost of a deep rift with Washington, or going along with Kerry, at the cost of Israel’s security against dangerous terrorists. This dilemma was mirrored in the stop-go ceasefire orders to Israel’s forces fighting in the Gaza Strip, an uncertainty of purpose that put them in great danger. It also left Hamas free to shoot rockets any time, with the US, Europe, Iran, Qatar and Turkey at its back.
IDF set for electronic and signals control of Hamas, Islamic Jihad command centers, after rocket fire
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 26, 2014
Before it ended with Hamas rocket fire Saturday night, July 26, the 12-hour Israel-Hamas ceasefire offered Israeli intelligence a rare opportunity for collecting enemy data. In the heat of battle, the IDF and its clandestine arms were unable to gain electronic and SIGINT access to the underground Hamas and Islamic Jihad command and control centers, which appear to be well equipped with complex tactical and encrypted communications systems. Now they must go for Hamas’ sophisticated intelligence production processing system, elements of which may have broken surface during the ceasefire.
Israel and Hamas reject Kerry’s ceasefire bid. The IDF awaits orders for next stage of Gaza operation
DEBKAfile Special Report July 25, 2014
Israel’s security and policy cabinet in Jerusalem and Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and Qatar Friday, July 25, decided to reject the “humanitarian” seven-day ceasefire put before them by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Israel has not fully achieved the goals of Operation Defensive Edge, although its troops have gained a small advantage, while Hamas is still confident of victory. Kerry hoped his truce initiative would prevent the war’s escalation. It did not work. The IDF now awaits its next orders, while Hamas is preparing its next moves.