DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 24, 2008
No military action to stamp out the Palestinian missile blitz against southwestern Israel will be undertaken before "international support" is organized and an attempt to renew the "ceasefire" with Hamas is undertaken. That was the gist of the Israeli cabinet's decision Sunday morning, Dec. 21, after Palestinian terrorists fired eight missiles and mortar shells at Israeli civilian locations, continuing the blitz launched before and after Hamas ended its six-month "truce" Friday.
Israeli helicopters struck three missile teams preparing to fire near the north Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. But the missiles kept coming - 22 by the end of the day.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 23, 2008
Israeli caretaker prime minister Ehud Olmert has been warned that the trip he booked to Ankara for next Monday will be an exercise in futility. Damascus let it be known Friday. Dec. 19, that acceptance in advance of its "borders document" was the pre-condition for direct peace talks.
This maximalist approach, say debkafile's sources in Washington, Jerusalem and Ankara, aims at notifying US president-elect Barack Obama that Damascus' "borders document" is a take-it-or-leave it proposition.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 23, 2008
debkafile's military sources report: Minutes after Hamas declared the six-month "truce" was over and non-renewable at 6 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19, the Israeli Army spokesman had this to say: "Quiet will be met by quiet but we will not hesitate to respond to missile offensives."
Whereupon, proving the threat was hollow, Hamas fired three missiles, followed by sniper fire which drove farmers from their fields at Kibbutz Nir Oz and damaged vehicles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 22, 2008
The 15th missile of Wednesday, Dec. 17, from Gaza, which injured 12 people - three from shrapnel, the rest in shock - exploded in the Sderot supermarket parking area, destroying shops and cars and scattering crowds of panicky Hanukah shoppers.
The attack capped two days of a massive Palestinian missile and mortar barrage against several Israeli towns and villages without an Israeli military response.
Only after Sderot did the Air Force go into action. Even then, the Palestinians kept on firing raising the day's number to 21.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 21, 2008
debkafile reports exclusively: The figures from the unpublished polls commissioned privately by leaders of the three main parties showed on average a lower figure for Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud than previously rated in the Feb. 10 general election; Tzipi Livni's Kadima's in decline, and unexpected gains for Barak's Labor's and right-wing Israel Beiteni.
At the same time, 35-40% of the voters sampled were unhappy with all the party leaders on offer as future prime ministers and at this point say they will opt out of balloting.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 20, 2008
Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, energized by more than two years in opposition, is launching his Likud party into Israel's general election campaign with a new look and a new top echelon.
debkafile's political sources report he is remolding it into a center-right party with a new leadership made up of the middle generation of Likud stalwarts and an infusion of outsiders from non-political occupations, rival parties, and at least two ex-generals.
Yaalon, designated for the key slot of defense minister, is a critical piece in Netanyahu's jigsaw puzzle.
A member of Kibbutz Grofit, the former chief of staff may bring Likud its first substantial contribution from the kibbutz movement. It consists of the Labor and Kadima factions, which seriously question the two-state solution of the Israel-Arab dispute propounded by President Bush and embraced by prime minister Ariel Sharon and his leading disciples, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2008
The aspiring prime minister, foreign minister Tzipi Livni, broke new ground when she voiced her views on the Middle East dispute this week. She challenged US and European diplomacy's conventional wisdom of gearing peace to a two-state solution. Palestinian leader Ahmed Quraia followed her with disclosures of what he claimed to be Israel's last peace offer - and rejected it out of hand.
Read debkafile's Exclusive Analysis below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 13, 2008
Likud voters rewarded its 12 workhorse legislators in the opposition party primary which took place Monday, Dec. 8, by placing party whip Gideon Saar, 42, Gilead Erdan and Reuven Rivlin in the top three slots. Of Binyamin Netanyahu's new arrivals, only Benny Begin and former chief of staff Moshe Yaalon made it to the top ten in fourth and eighth places.
This group of favorites holds that final status talks with Arab leaders, especially the Palestinians, is untimely in the light of the Gaza experience.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 13, 2008
The Israeli elector is desperate for fresh faces, new energy and clear thinking in the defense, finance and foreign ministries to replace a government dithering for months on every key issue. Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu has been abstruse rather than enlightening. But after the primaries of Monday, Dec. 8, he will have to level with the voter.
Read debkafile Exclusive Analysis below.
Military sources: 100 million Israeli shekels Barak approved for Gaza will feed Hamas war chest<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 12, 2008
Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak ordered the 100 million Israeli shekels in currency bills (equivalent to $25.6 million) to be transferred by Israeli armored cars to the Gaza Strip via the West Bank Wednesday, Dec. 10. He bowed to appeals from Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayad and the governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer. The latter was concerned by complaints from the World Bank that Gaza's banks were closing their doors for lack of cash and the Hamas administration was unable to cover its payroll. Military sources told debkafile: This is a repeat performance of Hamas' fuel scam.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 3, 2008
The roadblocks were set up around Tel Aviv and neighboring towns, the most heavily populated region of central Israel, after a specific terrorist alert. Police rounded up Palestinians with and without working permits, focusing on Tel Aviv's main bus terminus. Helicopters hovered over the city and the Magen David first aid service was on emergency standby. Rush-hour traffic Tuesday morning was backed up for kilometers as cars were stopped and searched.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 2, 2008
Hamas took responsibility for the Palestinian mortar barrage directed Friday night, Nov. 28, at the IDF base near Nahal Oz opposite the Gaza Strip. Six men and women soldiers remain in hospital. Staff at Beersheba's Sorocca hospital stabilized two seriously injured soldiers overnight, but had to amputate the leg of one of them.
debkafile's military sources report that by claiming the attack the Hamas terrorist group makes nonsense of defense minister Ehud Barak's policy of "preserving the ceasefire."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2008
Attorney general Menahem Mazuz notified prime minister Ehud Olmert Wednesday, Nov. 25, that pending a hearing, he is planning to file criminal charges against him in the double billing flight tickets affair. The charges include fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records, failure to report income and receiving illegal benefits during his years as a public servant. The prime minister's long-serving aide Ms Shula Zaken faces similar charges.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 29, 2008
Defense minister Ehud Barak has appealed against the Jerusalem district court's ruling Wednesday, Nov. 26 that the state violated international treaties by evicting Noam Federman, his wife and children from their farm between Hebron and Kiryat Arba a month ago and banning him from entering the West Bank.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 28, 2008
Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak made light of the "odd missile or two fired by an inconsequential group" from Gaza as the price for continuing the informal truce with Hamas. He was rebutting demands for effective military action against Hamas at a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Monday, Nov. 24.
Barak did not rule out any option against Iran although he refused to be drawn on the subject. He also disclosed Hizballah had stocked 42,000 Iranian rockets since the 2006 war.
Read debkafile's Special Analysis of Barak's policies below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 24, 2008
With 61 days to go for Israel's general election, at least two opinion polls position the right-of center opposition Likud ahead of its rivals with 32 Knesset seats (out of 120), tripling its present strength, whereas the ruling Kadima, led by foreign minister Tzipi Livni, would drop to 26, with two-thirds of its former voters dropping out.
Defense minister Ehud Barak is leading Labor, Israel's founding party, to virtual eclipse with no more than 8-10 Knesset seats predicted.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 15, 2008
The high-tech entrepreneur carried 50% of the vote beating the ultra-religious Meir Porush by 9 points according to complete, unofficial results. Tel Aviv's Ron Huldai won a third term in office with 50.69%; his next rival Dov Kheinin carried 34% of the vote. Haifa also reelected its sitting mayor Yonah Yahav for a second term, defeating ex-police officer Yaacov Borovsky. In Beersheba, Yaakov Turner was defeated by his deputy, Rubik Danilevich (30:60.4), in Rishon Lezion, Meir Nitzan was ousted after 25 years as mayor (47.7%) by Dov Tzur (52.3%).
debkafile: The kernel of a new political generation was thrown up in a process expected to gather momentum in the general election of February 10, 2009.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2008
Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.
debkafile's geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in Georgia. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.
Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 7, 2008
Binyamin Netanyahu plans to contest the February 10, 2009 general election at the head of a remodeled Likud party and a star-studded leadership. He is angling for Benny Begin, Yair Shamir, Dan Meridor and Nathan Sharansky.
Read more in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 6, 2008
Binyamin Netanyahu introduced the returning son of legendary party founder the late PM Menahem Begin at a news conference in Tel Aviv Tuesday, Nov. 4. Saturday, Nov. 1, debkafile first revealed Benny Begin's decision to quit the civil service as a geologist and bid for a place on the Likud list for the Feb. 10 general election.
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