DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 22, 2008
Transport minister Shaul Mofaz's announcement of time out from politics and his public duties after he lost the Kadima leadership primary to foreign minister Tzipi Livni by a single percent has seriously divided the party. His supporters claim he was treated unfairly by the party and media, all of which promoted Livni and impugned his credibility.
Her party's shrinkage further compounds the already daunting task facing the new Kadima chairwoman in taking over the incumbent government or forming a new coalition.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 20, 2008
debkafile's political sources report that outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert will not hand in his resignation at Sunday's cabinet meeting but only present the ministers with his schedule.
This is complicated by president Shimon Peres' trip to New York to speak for Israel at this week's new UN General Assembly session. The debate begins Sept. 23.
Then, most of the coming weeks are taken up with the Jewish High holidays, starting with the New Year on Sept 29 and ending Oct. 22.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 20, 2008
Foreign minister Tzipi Livni declared herself victor of the Kadima party's first leadership primary before dawn Thursday, Sept. 18, although her win was challenged by transport Shaul Mofaz, one percent behind her (43 to his 42 percent). All night, he demanded a partial recount in view of election irregularities, claiming there was no more than one vote dividing them - not 431. Early Thursday, Mofaz finally called Livni to congratulate her.
Real results differed dramatically from the three TV exit polls which wrongly awarded Livni a landslide victory of up to 10 percent wide of the mark. Throughout the campaign the foreign minister was a media favorite and inaccurately described as unchallenged successor to Ehud Olmert both as party chair and prime minister.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 18, 2008
Foreign minister Tzipi Livni, 50, was awarded 47-48-49 percent of a scant 50 percent of Kadima's registered voters (34,000), compared with 37 percent won by her closest rival, transport minister Shaul Mofaz.
Outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert promised to hand over to the winner of the Kadima primary Wednesday Sept. 17 and face the corruption probes lined up against him.
Because of the low turnout during the day, Wednesday, Sept. 17, balloting was extended by an extra half hour.
Many politicians outside Kadima question the authority of Olmert's successor in Kadima to form and lead a government, given the tiny party she was elected to lead by no more than 34,000 votes. That is less than 1 percent of the general electorate. Many are demanding a general election as soon as possible.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 17, 2008
Defense minister Ehud Barak of Labor and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud are in advanced negotiations to rotate the premiership between them in order to cut the ground from under ruling Kadima which votes for a new chairman Wednesday, Sept. 17. The ultra-religious Shas is in on the plan.
This is reported by debkafile's political circles.
Foreign minister Tzipi Livni and transport minister Shaul Mofaz are front-runners for the post to succeed Ehud Olmert.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 13, 2008
The pilots were Maj. (Res.) Shai Danur, 35, father of five, from Rosh Ha'ayin, and Yuval Holtzman, 40, father of three, from Matan Hasharon.
The helicopter on a training mission went down Wednesday, Sept. 10, near Kibbutz Ginegar in the Jezreel Valley, apparently due to a technical failure, bursting into flames. The IAF has launched an inquiry into the crash, the worst aviation accident since the 2006 Lebanon War, and grounded the Cobra fleet.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 12, 2008
The discovery of large sections of the city's southern wall from the times of the Hasmonean kings is a major contribution to the knowledge of Jerusalem, marking out the city's full extent during its heyday as the thriving center of Jewish pilgrimage from all parts of the ancient world.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 12, 2008
The Russian raid was disclosed by UPI chief editor Arnaud de Borchgrave. The Russian raid of two Georgian airfields, which Tbilisi had allowed Israel to use for a potential strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, followed the Georgian offensive against South Ossetia on Aug. 7.
debkafile's intelligence sources report that flying from S. Georgia over the Caspian Sea to Iran would sharply trim the flying time for Israeli fighter-bombers to 3.5 hours.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 9, 2008
The Israeli police decided Sun. Sept. 7 that it has sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on two cases of corruption pre-dating his present incumbency.
Their recommendation was referred to attorney general Menahem Maziz, who alone is competent to indict a prime minister and who has two weeks to reach a decision. The case then goes to the prosecution.
The prime minister's lawyers criticized the police for pre-determining the attorney general's decision on an indictment.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 3, 2008
Hamas is no longer under pressure to conclude a deal with Israel for the release of Gilead Shalit, 22, the kidnapped Israeli soldier spending a third birthday in Gazan captivity.
Sunday, Aug. 31, a special ministerial committee will convene in Jerusalem to draw up a fresh list of jailed Palestinian terrorists on offer for his return. It is headed by vice premier Haim Ramon. What they decide matters little. Hamas holds all the cards because the Olmert government let the fundamentalist Islamic group dedicated to Israel's destruction grow strong - with the help of Iran and Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 31, 2008
The geography of the accident Tuesday, Aug. 26, belied the reiterated claims of Israeli ministers and UN officials that Hizballah's rockets had been pushed back from the Lebanese-Israeli border under the terms of the Resolution 1701 ceasefire. The Hizballah operative was discussing with his men how far inside Israeli territory the rockets installed at launch pads on the Israeli border could reach. In Jerusalem, Israeli ministers discussed measures for protecting the civilian population "by legislation."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 29, 2008
The Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak wanted to hear about progress in Egypt's mediation for the release of the Israeli soldier kidnapped in 2006 by Hamas, when he met the president Hosni Mubarak Tuesday, Aug. 26. However, debkafile reports that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak preferred first to lay before his Israeli visitor the 11-point scheme he and Saudi king Abdullah have developed for the Gaza Strip.
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."