DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 9, 2008
In 50 ceremonies up and down the country, some 8,500 members of Gaza's former 21 communities and many sympathizers from Israel and abroad marked the third anniversary of their forcible evacuation. More than 80 percent are still living in temporary accommodation, many still jobless. The Knesset has set up a state commission to inquire into the government's failed handling of the Gush Katif evacuees.
Since the withdrawal of Israeli military bases and eviction of those communities the Gaza Strip has become a stronghold of the Palestinian Hamas.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 8, 2008
The Cairo effort to broker a ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas proves now to have been no more than a cover-up for the real game afoot: a move brokered by the Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade to mend the feud between Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and the fundamentalist Hamas.
Palestinian peace talks were secretly launched Friday, June 6 in Dakar at the end of the Organization of Islamic Conference summit for the creation of a unity government.
By taking over the Gaza administration, the PA will relieve Hamas of responsibility for wages in the public-sector (for which the Ramallah government turns over cash to Hamas anyway) and supplies of basic commodities - food, fuel and medicine. Hamas' hands will be free to fight Israel with greater energy than ever before and proceed to seize control of the West Bank to create a base for attacking Israel far more dangerous than Gaza.
Once Hamas vacates Gaza's government administration - even if this is just a formality - and PA guards man the border crossings, Israel can no longer sustain its blockade of the territory.
Neither can Israel's military hit back when Hamas and its terrorist allies shoot missiles and mortars against its population.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 6, 2008
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi commented Monday, Aug. 4: We know where Gilead Shalit is held and who is holding him."
debkafile's military sources report that the general's incautious remark during a visit to new recruits at the armored corps basic training camp aroused widespread disapproval. These sources said that the obvious result would be for the Palestinian kidnappers who snatched the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit in a cross-border raid from Gaza more than a year to move him to a new hiding place.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 3, 2008
Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu takes issue with the manner of prime minister Ehud Olmert's decision to leave office, because it sidesteps the voter.
Passing the premiership sideways to a successor, which Olmert's own Kadima will elect in a primary in two months, is a form of "artificial respiration" for a failed government, he said Thursday, July 31.
debkafile's political sources report: Olmert bequeaths his successor a deeply divided cabinet based on a precarious parliamentary majority of four. It faces its first major hurdle over the passage of the 2009 budget.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 2, 2008
Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin reported to the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, July 27, an increase of organized plans by terrorist groups to kidnap more Israeli soldiers.
Reviewing the security situation in Jerusalem, Diskin sounded an alarm: Local Palestinians are increasingly ready to embrace religious radicalism and global jihadist ideas, including the practice of terrorism.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 28, 2008
Shihab al-Natsheh 25, barricaded himself in his house in the West Bank town of Hebron and opened fire on the Israeli troops. After several hours, they bulldozed his house and found Natsheh's body. He had been sought for assigning the suicide bombing in Dimona that killed an Israeli woman and injured ten others in February, and plotting more attacks. Several explosions were heard inside the building and a bomb workshop found later. Hamas' armed wing Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades vowed a "swift and painful revenge." The month-long ceasefire in force in the Gaza Strip does not apply to Israel's counter-terror operations on the West Bank.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 27, 2008
Yuval Diskin, director of Israel's internal security service warned the cabinet meeting Sunday, July 27, that the increasing involvement of East Jerusalem Palestinians in terrorist attacks was alarming. He urged the ministers to hurry up and apply deterrent penalties for the two terrorist attacks by bulldozers on Jerusalem's main streets and the massacre at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva earlier this year. Their homes should be razed and government social benefits withheld from their dependents as deterrents against future attacks which have proved effective in the past.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 21, 2008
The project consists of five pipelines that would carry water, natural gas, oil, electricity and fiber optics from Turkey's Mediterranean coast to Israel. Infrastructure minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer: "We are very close to an agreement with Russia for the supply of natural gas for the pipeline."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 20, 2008
The military funerals at the home towns of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Nahariya and Haifa, returned in coffins by Hizballah Wednesday, were watched by Israelis nationwide in live television broadcasts. Many thousands attended the funerals along with national leaders. In tearful scenes, they condoled with Karnit Goldwasser, widowed after nine months' marriage, and the parents and siblings of the two soldiers, who campaigned tirelessly nation- and worldwide for their return.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 18, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that Israel has placed its military and air forces on its northern borders on high alert after Iran and Syria ignored Jerusalem's warning that the continued presence of Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah officers on the strategic Lebanese Sannine peak may spark a military clash.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 16, 2008
The Galilee Liberation Brigades claimed the latest Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem, in which a gunman shot two Israel Border Police guards at the Old City's Lions' Gate just before midnight on July 11 and vanished in the nearby ancient Muslim cemetery. Both, seriously hurt, returned fire.
Police commissioner Dudi Cohen said he saw no links in the six Palestinian lone-wolf attacks in Jerusalem this year.
debkafile's counter-terror sources brings six connecting links to police attention.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 15, 2008
Following the two-hour police interrogation of prime minister Ehud Olmert at his Jerusalem home, Friday, July 11, the Justice ministry and Police jointly announced their investigation had been widened beyond the Talansky case.
Olmert and his agents are now suspected of fraudulently obtaining the costs of each of his foreign trips on official business from several public bodies and individuals, including the state, simultaneously.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, the Knesset interior committee Monday approved a bill ahead of second and third reading penalizing individuals guilty of aiding terror, terrorist organization membership, espionage and treason with loss of Israeli citizenship or permanent residency. The minister of interior would make this decision on the strength of a district court ruling. The bill, tabled by Likud MK Gilead Erdan two weeks after Jerusalem resident Taysir Dwayat used a bulldozer to kill three people in a terrorist attack, was strongly opposed by Arab legislators.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 12, 2008
It was obvious that US president George W. Bush's denunciation of those who would negotiate with "terrorists and radicals" had put the Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, on the spot. Minutes after the words had been spoken on Thursday, May 16, in a special 60th anniversary session of the Israeli parliament, Obama shot back with an attack on the president: "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists."
Some of the flak which landed on the senator was directed against his lobbyists, whose arrival to woo Israeli and Jewish support was timed to coincide with the presidential participation in Israel's anniversary celebrations.
Obama's lobbyists, debkafile's sources report, made a point of talking to most of the American Jewish leaders attending the international conference and asked them to support the Democratic senator's bid for the presidency. debkafile's sources heard from some of them that their chief concern is that, if Obama wins the nomination, Clinton's Jewish supporters will be lost to the Democrats and drift all the way over to the Republican candidate instead of voting for Obama.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2008
Following the two-hour police interrogation of prime minister Ehud Olmert at his Jerusalem home, Friday, July 11, the Justice ministry and Police jointly announced the widening of their investigation beyond the Talansky case.
Olmert and his agents are now suspected of fraudulently obtaining the costs of each of his foreign trips on official business from several public bodies and individuals, including the state simultaneously.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 7, 2008
The bulldozer assault on July 2, a first in terrorist annals, claimed three Israel lives and left more than 70 people injured. The victims were Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, 54, Bathsheva Onterman, 33, and Zen Raluay, 68.
One common denominator of all three attacks, which has been largely obscured by Israeli authorities, was their claim by a group calling itself the Galilee Liberation Brigades which debkafile's intelligence sources report is sponsored by the Lebanese Hizballah terror organization.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 6, 2008
In a rampage along Jerusalem's crowded Jaffa Street thoroughfare, a bulldozer driven by a terrorist hoisted and overturned a packed 13 bus, while extending its shovel and plowing into several vehicles and pedestrians.
The victims were Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, 54, Bathsheva Onterman, 33, and Zen Raluay, 68, all from Jerusalem.
Bathsheva saved her six-month old baby's life by passing her out of her car window before the oncoming earthmover crushed her to death.
The bulldozer driver was tackled and shot dead by two policemen and a passing off-duty soldier.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 6, 2008
According to debkafile's military and intelligence sources, the overriding considerations that will determine if and when Israel attacks Iran are these: whether to strike before George W. Bush's exit, whether Iran's strategic ties with Syria and the Palestinian Hamas can be severed in advance and what prime minister is chosen to manage the war. Those are the real "red lines."
The thinking in Israel now is that the sooner Israel pre-empts a nuclear-armed Iran, the better, because the longer it delaya, the more dangerous the Islamic Republic's retaliatory capabilities will become.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 5, 2008
debkafile's counter-terror sources identify the "Galilee Liberators Brigades" as a clandestine Hizballah offshoot which has established centers in the Arab villages of Manda and Kana in the northern Israeli Galilee. The Galilee Liberators' murderous record goes back five years, according to our sources. In 2003, its members kidnapped and murdered two young Israelis, Dana Benet and Oleg Shaychat in separate attacks.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 4, 2008
debkafile: The unusual publicity given to prime minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona, in the southern Negev region, on July 1 - albeit after the fact - is a more than gentle hint to Iran of Israel's determination to pre-empt a nuclear-armed Iran.
It further intensifies the ongoing war of words and signals flying between Tehran, Washington and Jerusalem in recent weeks over the nuclear issue. A rejoinder from the Islamic Republic may be expected.