DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 9, 2014
The Israeli government has radically changed tack on Syria, reversing a policy and military strategy that were long geared to opposing Syrian President Bashar Assad, debkafile reports exclusively. This reversal was prompted by the increasing preponderance of radical Islamists among the Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s army in the Quneitra area. It calls for a delicate balancing act. While loath to see Assad winning the Syrian war, Israel has no desire to have Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Al Nusra, sitting just across the Golan border in control of Quneitra.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 31, 2014
debkafile reports exclusively that the UAV an Israeli Patriot battery shot down Sunday Aug. 31 over Quneitra on the Golan was launched by Hizballah – not Syria as reported. The Iran-made Ababail 2 was on a photography and intelligence-gathering mission over the Golan battleground, where the Syrian army and rebels are fighting over the Quneitra crossing. It is estimated that Hizballah was not planning to join the battle, but rather concerned in case the rebels beat back Syrian troops and broke through from northern Golan to Mt. Hermon and southern Lebanon.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 28, 2014
The battle for Quneitra has no real military importance for the Syrian conflict at large, says debkafile. The Syrian army, helped by Iran and Hizballah, is winning and the rebel side crumbling. However, integrated in the rebel contingents fighting for Quneitra, with US, Israeli and Jordanian backing, are Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front fighters and its Sinai arm, Ansar Beit Al-Madis, which works hand in glove with Israel’s foe, the Palestinian Hamas. When a black Al Qaeda flag flies over Quneitra 200 m from its Golan border, Israel will face a new dilemma.
Israeli air strikes reduce Gazan high-rise towers to dust, while Israelis flee in droves from Hamas fire
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 25, 2014
Community leaders of 40,000 dwellers of the dozens of kibbutzim, moshavim and small towns adjoining the Gaza Strip spoke out Monday, Aug 25:" It is no longer possible to hide what is going on. The populated front line facing the Gaza Strip is no more.” Some bluntly blamed this fiasco on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and their management of the operation against Hamas. Attesting to an untenable situation, they juxtapose Gaza buildings reduced to dust by Israeli air strikes against Negev communities made refugees.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 23, 2014
Both sides were preparing Saturday night, Aug. 23, for an impending battle on Gaza Strip soil, debkafile reports. Heavy IDF ground forces were poised ready to enter the territory – initially to demolish Hamas’s short-range rocket and mortar launchers, which have disrupted the lives of neighboring Israeli communities and forced their mass evacuation. The Palestinian extremists escalated their blitz in the last 48 hours as a provocation, daring the IDF to send in the forces massed around its borders, while preparing terrorists brigades in tunnels and suicide fighters for ambushes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 21, 2014
Israel has entered a new stage in its war on Hamas, called by Binyamin Netanyahu “hammering to halt attrition.” It started with the assassination attempt on Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, with unclear results, and was followed by the liquidation of Hamas’ three top southern Gaza commanders. The assassination campaign has the potential to expand and prolong the Gaza conflict, with a diplomatic resolution fading. Netanyahu faces a mutiny by a group of ministers who object to the way he and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon are managing the war.
DEBKAfile DEBKAfile Special Guide August 15, 2014
After a month of fighting in Gaza and the onset of another surreal ceasefire, debkafile’s sources clue in those readers who are understandably a bit baffled about the war and where Israel stands: Although a five-day ceasefire was announced in Cairo Wednesday night, neither Israel nor Hamas had by Friday, Aug. 15, officially acknowledged a truce is in place. Obama and Netanyahu continue to lock horns as Jerusalem runs the war without Washington’s input. As for the conflict's end, every effort at diplomacy with the Hamas terrorists has so far fallen flat.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2014
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Saudi Arabia are pushing Netanyahu to go for the full-scale ground incursion against Hamas in Gaza that he doesn’t want, while the Israeli prime minister continues to keep the US out of his decisions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2014
A Mossad overhaul has left Israel’s intelligence focused on tactical intelligence, leaving current leaders without the strategic point of view they need to conquer Hamas in Gaza.
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.
For Cairo deal, Israel calls for ban in Gaza on all but light arms, free hand against tunnels, rocket plants
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 6, 2014
debkafile reveals exclusively the terms Israel handed in to the Cairo talks Wednesday Aug. 6 for a durable peace in the Gaza Strip. In the document Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen put before the Egyptian intermediaries, the first key condition is based on the Oslo 2 Accords, which restricted Palestinian security officers in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria to bearing only light firearms. The second condition would grant the Israeli military freedom of action to strike tunnels designed for terrorist attacks and demolish plants manufacturing missiles.
Iran, Al Qaeda took note of curbs on IDF vanquishing Hamas, which now has core of a Palestinian army
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 6, 2014
As Israeli envoys arrived in Cairo Tuesday, Aug. 6, on the first day of a 72-hour Gaza ceasefire, government spokesmen went to great lengths to convince the public that the fighting was over and the enemy seriously degraded. debkafile: But Hamas though badly hit was not vanquished, its command level survived and the core of a Palestinian army has emerged. Al Qaeda, from its new battle arena in Lebanon, and Iran, too, drew their own conclusions from the way the IDF was held back from bringing its successful operation to victory.
Israel-Hamas talks to open in Cairo after 72-hour ceasefire. Netanyahu faces credibility gap at home
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 5, 2014
Israel and Hamas were due to open talks under Egyptian aegis for a long-term ceasefire after the start of a 72-hour Gaza truce Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 8 a.m. debkafile: Israel’s consent to this arrangement flies in the face of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s solemn pledge 48 hours earlier to continue Operation Defensive Edge for as long as necessary and have no truck with Hamas. “No accommodation, only deterrence” was the motto of Aug. 2. This credibility gap generates Israel’s first major internal refugee problem as ghost communities form along the Gaza border.
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.