DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 25, 2009
Israeli emissaries head out to Cairo and Ankara next week to prise open doors for restarting peace talks with Palestinians and Syrians. Nicolas Sarkozy would welcome a mediation role for France but he has put Syria's Bashar Assad on notice that he must ease his ties with Tehran if he seeks diplomatic progress with the US and Israel.
And if Assad poses a precondition for talks, so too does Binyamin Netanyahu.
Read debkafile's Exclusive Analysis below on this new initiative.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 24, 2009
debkafile reports high suspense in Jerusalem as Hamas representatives from Damascus and Gaza Strip head for Cairo Monday Nov. 23 to review the new list of jailed Palestinians Israel is offering as part of its trade for soldier Gilead Shalit. The new list substitutes 70 names for the hard-core killers whom Israel refused to set free. The dispute over this group held up the deal over a total of 1,000 jailed Palestinians to be traded. The next 24 hours are critical.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 14, 2009
President Barack Obama and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu talked for more than an hour and a half in the White House Tuesday, Nov. 9, all but fifteen minutes without advisers. There were no cameras and the usual post-meeting press briefings, joint communiques and interviews were cancelled.
debkafile reported Monday: US official sources admitted Monday, Nov. 9, that Tehran had firmly blocked every Obama compromise on offer. Obama's Iran engagement and Middle East peace initiatives have both run into the sand.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 10, 2009
The Antigua-flagged arms ship Francop commandeered by the Israeli Navy early Wednesday, Nov. 4, near Cyprus, carried 40 containers of hundreds of tons of Iranian arms for Hizballah, enough to keep Hizballah fighting for a month, said Israeli Navy commander Brig.-Gen Ronnie Ben-Yehuda in a news briefing Wednesday, Nov 3.
The ship was intercepted in a joint Israel Navy-US Task Force 151 operation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2009
Germany is the fifth foreign nation to acquire the Heron TP drone or other Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle technology for support missions against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, debkafile's military sources report. Today, these drones complement the US Air Force's dominant role in Afghanistan air space.
World armies have purchased a total of 40 Israeli drones of different types. The most recent client was Russia.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 27, 2009
Defense ministry officials say a dossier cataloguing Hamas crimes against humanity year after year can be compiled from voluminous records in short order and submitted to the international court, as debkafile suggested in its special analysis on Oct. 17 of the fallout from Judge Goldstone's war crime allegations against Israel and the Netanyahu's government ineffective counter-measures.
To read the analysis, click HERE
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2009
Iran is making a huge effort to smuggle to the Palestinian Hamas Fajr-5 ground-to-ground rockets that bring Tel Aviv within range of the Gaza Strip. debkafile's military sources also disclose that Syria, Iran's second ally with an Israeli border, has decided to transfer one-third of its missile stockpile to the Hizballah in Lebanon, topping up its arsenal with medium-range rockets that can cover central as well as northern Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 25, 2009
Israeli army chiefs must now decide how to send troops to defend their country knowing some may face war crimes allegations form some international body. The Netanyahu government had seven months from the Goldstone war crime commission's appointment to counteract the UN Human Right Council's hostile resolution Friday, Oct. 17, with dossiers of the Palestinians' murderous 10-year campaigns against Israeli men, women and children and the far greater war crimes of Israel's detractors. Instead, an anti-Israeli coalition was allowed to plan the denial of Israel's military legitimacy as a defensive strike force against Iran's fast-moving nuclear weapons program, as debkafile Exclusive Analysis below reports.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 21, 2009
The UN Human Right Council's endorsement Friday, Oct. 16, sent the anti-Israel Goldstone war crimes report to the UN Security Council. Ultimately, this step could expose Israeli leaders to prosecution for war crimes.
The damage was compounded by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's personal involvement in spearheading the campaign to have the report buried. Its endorsement has instead buried the peace process between Israel and Palestinian Authority - already shaken by Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to come to the negotiating table.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 20, 2009
According to an unconfirmed report in the French Le Canard Enchaine of Wednesday, Oct. 14, Israel is preparing to bomb Iranian nuclear sites and pro-Iranian targets across the Middle East after December 2009. A former Israeli deputy defense minister, Efraim Sneh, commented to US and British media several times in the past week that if the US fails to rally fellow powers' support for tougher sanctions against Iran by Christmas, Israel will attack.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 15, 2009
US and Israeli forces were already poised to launch their joint Juniper Cobra strategic missile defense exercise, which takes place every two years, to begin Monday Oct. 12, when at noon an Israeli military spokesman suddenly announced its postponement by one week.
The announcement came three days after Turkey called off its sixth annual international air maneuver when the US and Italy pulled out in protest against the Israeli air force's last-minute exclusion by Ankara.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2009
Western naval sources report that Israel's German-made Dolphin submarines have been heavily modified: its torpedo tubes enlarged to accommodate missiles, new electronics installed and its fuel capacity expanded to keep the vessel at sea for 50 days without refueling. Eight years after receiving the first three Dolphin subs from Germany and two more last month, naval sources rate them the most modern non-nuclear subs in any world navy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 10, 2009
Biochemist Professor Ada Yonath, born in Jerusalem in 1939, member of the Weizmann Institute of Science, was awarded the 2009 Nobel prize for chemistry, jointly with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Cambridge, UK and Thomas A. Steitz, of Yale University, US.
Prof. Yonath is only the third woman to win the prize for chemistry since 1963.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 8, 2009
The video-tape of Sgt. Gilead Shalit handed Israel Friday Oct. 2 in a trade for 20 Palestinian female prisoners was given to his family, who were able to view his image for the first time since he was kidnapped in June, 2006, 1,200 days ago, aged 19. Running two minutes, 42 seconds, the soldier is recorded reading a Hamas daily newspaper dated Sept. 14 as proof that the tape is recent.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 7, 2009
The Obama administration abandoned an Iranian enrichment freeze as the precondition for talks and sanctions are no longer brandished, leaving Israel taking stock of its decision to count on US-led international determination for halting Iran's nuclear progress.
The videotape showing Gilead fit and well does not guarantee his early release. Hamas still holds the whip hand.
Read debkafile's Exclusive Analysis below on the current state of play after the two events.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 6, 2009
Against Israel's release of 20 Palestinian women-prisoners, Hamas will hand over Friday, Oct. 2, a "sign-of'-life" video-tape of Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit who has spent more than three years in captivity. Both Jerusalem and Hamas spokesmen stressed that this was no more than a small step on a long road ahead before the German-mediated, Egyptian-sponsored negotiations brought Sgt. Gilead Shalit home.
But debkafile's military sources say the negotiations are far more advanced than claimed by those officials and many disputed points have already been cleared up.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 28, 2009
In an impassioned speech to the UN General Assembly Thursday, Sept 24, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the United Nations' most important mission today is to prevent "the tyrants of Tehran" from acquiring nuclear weapons, because the marriage of religious fanaticism and weapons of mass destruction would endanger the world. He slammed the UN report which held Israel guilty of war crimes in its Gaza operation last January, accusing its authors of "equating terrorists and their victims." Israel must be sure that peace talks with the Palestinians don't produce "another Gaza."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 26, 2009
debkafile's military sources report that dozens of low-flying Israeli Air Force warplanes coasted over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for two hours Monday, Sept. 21 in a show of strength unparalleled since 100 IAF jets practiced long-distance flights in June 2008 against Russian-made S-300 anti-missile systems based in Greece.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2009
The blood libels beloved of anti-Semites through the ages echoed clearly from the unsupported op-ed article freelance reporter Donald Bostrom ran in the Swedish Aftonbladet newspaper last week.
All the same, debkafile's political sources say the diplomatic crisis which has since blown up between Israel and Sweden would have faded quickly had a lot less noise issued from Jerusalem and Stockholm acted with less arrogance. As it is, the European and some US media seized on the tiff and trotted freelancer Bostrom out to repeat the offending charge.
Bostrom's article drew on one Palestinian family's claim in the 1990s that they suspected the Israeli military of stealing the organs of their son whose body was returned five days later after he was killed by Israeli forces. Their suspicion was based on a cut in his midsection. Another 20 Palestinian families then stepped up with the same charge.
When asked, the Israeli military spokesman explained that in the 1990s, autopsies were routine for Palestinians killed in clashes to ascertain that Israeli troops had acted in accordance with their orders and rules of engagement.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 14, 2009
The Israeli military has been ordered to investigate the cause of the F-16 crash in which Lt. Assaf Ramon, 20, promoted posthumously to captain, lost his life on a training flight in battle formation 80,000 ft. over the Hebron hills. The pilot of the second jet taking part in the exercise reported that 30 seconds before the crash, Assaf Ramon had stopped responding to communications, suggesting that a sharp turn may have affected his faculties, perhaps causing a momentary blackout.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell conveyed the American people's condolences to the Ramon family for the tragedy of "a young man who died in his prime and in the line of duty."