Israel's military advocate-general rules: IDF's use of cluster bombs in Lebanon war was lawful and primarily targeted non-built-up areas<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 26, 2007
Brigadier Avihai Mandelblit, the IDF's advocate general, ruled that there were no grounds to prosecute Israel commanders who ordered the use of cluster bombs in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. His decision, released Dec. 24, was based on a special investigation ordered by the Israel chief of staff after the UN condemned the IDF's use of cluster bombs in the conflict. Standing Israel military egulations ban cluster bombs against built-up areas.
Knesset committee approves $13 bn 2008 defense budget. Two lawmakers say bill lacks resources to counter Iranian nuclear threat
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 26, 2007
Former dep. defense minister Moshe Sneh (Labor) and ex-General Effie Eytam (National Union) voted against the (NIS51 bn) bill, arguing it made no provision for Israel to counter the nuclear threat from Iran. Sneh said another billion shekels was needed to fund the necessary resources. Eytam said Israel was left exposed to Iranian threats. debkafile's military sources add: The defense budget's structure shows that the Olmert government has taken on board the Bush administration's acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran, as was reflected in a US intelligence report which glossed over the state of Iran's military program post-2003.
Seven armed Palestinians killed, 5 Israeli soldiers wounded battling Hamas in Gaza Thursday. A powerful explosion sends 18 into shock in Sderot Gil School yard <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 24, 2007
One of the Israeli soldiers is in serious condition.
debkafile's military sources: The force of the explosion which damaged buildings indicates the Palestinians have developed an extra-powerful missile charge. During the day, an Israeli Golani force operated in the Marazi camp in central Gaza demolishing terrorist facilities. Five Palestinian gunmen were killed in a firefight there.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Israeli minister warns "flawed" US intelligence on Iran nuke will lead to "Yom Kippur" <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 21, 2007
Internal security minister and former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter was the first government member to publicly and harshly question the US National Intelligence Estimate which says Tehran no longer develops nuclear weapons. "We know the threat to be ongoing and palpable."
debkafile reports: Dichter voiced concerns which other Israeli ministers have so far expressed only in private (as reported last week on this site), because they conflict with the views of prime minister Ehud Olmert. The NIE report is deemed negative on three grounds:
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 19, 2007
Two economists in a report submitted to the Knesset award a failed mark to the resettlement project for the 8,500 Israelis evacuated from Gaza in 2005 as part of the Sharon government's unilateral withdrawal. From being successfully employed, business owners and farmers in Gaza, the evacuees today move around between temporary lodgings, two-thirds are jobless, farmers have not been awarded the substitute land promised them, and thousands subsist on social security payments. Their unstable conditions deprive many children of regular schooling.
An Israeli Arrow can intercept a nuclear-armed missile before it leaves Iranian skies, according to Israeli lawmaker
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 18, 2007
Member of ruling Kadima party, MK Maj. Gen. (Res) Yizhak Ben-Israel, said Saturday, Dec. 15, that the Arrow anti-missile missile system is capable of intercepting a nuclear missile fired from Iran before it leaves Iranian air space. Ben Israel said Israel would have 12 minutes to hit the attacking missile. In his view, Iran will attain a nuclear bomb by 2010. This threat, he said, presented less of a problem than a nuclear weapon sent from Iran for Hizballah to blow up Haifa port.
Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi: The time is nearing for a major IDF operation in Gaza<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 17, 2007
The current reality cannot go on much longer, he said, referring to the steep upsurge of Palestinian missile and mortar attacks on Israel from Gaza - 23 Qassams aimed at Sderot on Wednesday.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Dispute over Iran's nuclear program throws Israel-US relations into grave crisis<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2007
Senior Israel security and intelligence officials report: Washington is refusing to heed the intelligence Israel has gathered on Iran's covert military nuclear program which refutes its latest estimate, denies Israel access to authentic US intelligence and has embarked on steps detrimental to Israel in relation to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon, without informing its government.
Defense minister Ehud Barak challenged the US intelligence estimate on Iran Tuesday, Dec. 4.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 9, 2007
Defense minister Ehud Barak argued that Iran had in fact restarted its program.
"It's apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then, it has apparently continued that program," Barak told Israel army radio. "We cannot afford to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the globe, even if it is from our greatest friend," said the defense minister.
Israel's foreign missions were instructed to step up the international campaign for tough sanctions against Iran to repair the impression created by the US intelligence reassessment that Iran is off the hook on its military nuclear program.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Reports: Barak orders military to expand Israel's counter-terror operations in Gaza Strip but delays major operation
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 3, 2007
Twenty mortar rounds struck the Kibbutz Nahal Oz area Sunday night, Dec. 2. Earlier, Defense minister Ehud Barak informed the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that he had ordered the expansion of IDF operations in the Gaza Strip, from which 25 missiles and 70 mortar rounds were fired in the past last week.
debkafile's military sources: This is far short of the major military operation which long-suffering Israeli civilians and southern command officers say is well overdue and which the Olmert government has repeatedly postponed on various pretexts.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 2, 2007
The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, says the former chief of military intelligence, has not the slightest chance of honoring even one of the security commitments he undertook.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert faces assorted critics of his role at the Middle East conference of Nov. 27, mainly on the grounds of jeopardizing national security. Many have pointed out that, while he acknowledged the suffering of the Palestinian people and its right to self-determination, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab speakers who followed him, pointedly omitted to reciprocate.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: No end to Israeli fight against Palestinian assaults on Gaza-Israel border fence <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 2, 2007
Twenty armed Palestinians were killed this week before they reached firing positions on the border or managed to cross over. Among them was a three-man Hamas mortar crew on its way to shell Kerem Shalom.
Hamas has been massing mortar units at the northern and southern ends of the Gaza Strip and pounding Nahal Oz, Kerem Shalom and IDF bases and patrols at the rate of 20 rounds a day. The Palestinian death toll also include two terrorists who were prevented from planting bombs on the fence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 1, 2007
No one at UN headquarters in New York remembers a case of a draft resolution being abruptly withdrawn hours before a UN Security Council session was scheduled to approve it. This is what happened to a US draft that would have endorsed President Bush's announcement three days earlier at the Annapolis Middle East conference of Israeli and Palestinian consent to work toward a settlement of their conflict before the end of 2008.
The Council had been called into closed session Thursday night, Nov. 30 to endorse the Annapolis declaration. The text was buried hastily in an undignified scramble by the Bush administration after two days of sharp words between the White House and prime minister Ehud Olmert and his threat not to turn up fortalks with the Palestinians.
This incident led also to the first real falling-out between President George W. Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. He blamed her for seeking to bolster the Annapolis declaration by Security Council endorsement, thereby exposing the hyped-up event to the world as a charade and his own declaration as too flimsy to stand up.
As soon as the Israeli ambassador heard that Khalilzad had obtained the consent of the five permanent members of the Security Council to a closed session for approving the US draft, he urgently alerted Olmert and Livni in Jerusalem.
Israel is on high security alert until after Tuesday's Middle East conference in the US under threat of Hamas and other terrorist action<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 28, 2007
Sunday, thousands of police and soldiers poured into Jerusalem after intelligence was received that a terrorist team from the West Bank was bound for a suicide bombing in the city. After several hours, the alert was lifted.
debkafile reports the IDF, police and Shin Bet meanwhile began scouring West Bank and Gaza Strip terrorist strongholds to intercept Palestinian bombers before they crossed the borders into Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 27, 2007
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debkafile's military sources report the Iranian Navy is in the process of deploying two submarine fleets - mini-subs in Persian Gulf waters for attacks on US shipping and Gulf oil facilities, and the long-range Kilo class sub of Russian, Chinese and home manufacture, for long-range targets in the Mediterranean, such as the US Sixth Fleet and Israel coastal towns, primarily Tel Aviv.
Iran's defense minister Mostafa Najiar announced Tuesday, Nov. 27, that a new Iranian-built submarine would be delivered to the navy Wednesday. He offered no details of the new item.
debkafile's military sources note that Iran's strategic thinking has undergone a change. Hitherto, the rulers of Tehran viewed the blockage of the narrow waterway to shipping that carries one-third of the world's oil needs, as its most effective reprisal for a military attack. They have revised their thinking for two reasons: First, Iran has made great strides in expanding its influence in Gulf oil states and an assault on their sole source of revenue would win more enemies than friends.
Second, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 326 revealed Nov. 16, Tehran has developed a new capability to deploy in the Mediterranean Kilo class submarines armed with the Russian-made "Sizzler" Klub-S (3M54) missile.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Olmert defends Israel's attendance of Middle East conference in US against rising criticism and party rebels<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 25, 2007
The Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert admitted that Wednesday night, Nov. 21, that Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow Palestinian leaders may be weak but they are the only ones willing to talk peace. debkafile reports: The Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and insistence on Jerusalem as the capital of their future state are seen by both government supporters and the opposition as insuperable obstacles to any progress.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 25, 2007
Dr. David Shamir (res. major), 45, was indicted by Tel Aviv district court Friday for approaching the Iranian foreign ministry in April 2007 and offering classified information to which he was exposed as a reservist. It included the Medical Corps' emergency plans, the deployment of medical teams and plans for the evacuation of civilians under missile attack.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Reports: Dr. (Res. Maj.) David Shamir's failed attempt to spy for Iran, Hamas and Russia, was fumbling and amateurish <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 23, 2007
The most serious aspect of the affair was the willingness of an IDF officer - one serving as a psychiatrist with the rank of major in the Medical Corps - to spy for Israel's enemies. His offer was not taken up because he gave himself away as a stranger to the ropes of contemporary espionage. But had he been recruited, he could have wrought untold damage to national security before being caught.
Israeli PM Olmert instructs cabinet officials to draft proposals on how Israel might deal with a nuclear-armed Iran, Reuters reports<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 16, 2007
This contradicts public pledges to deny Iran the means to pose an "existential threat" to the Jewish state. Two senior Israeli sources close to the Olmert government's defense planning told the news agency that a secret memorandum was being prepared for "the day after" Iran owned atomic warheads. "There are long-term ramifications to be addressed, like how to maintain our deterrent and military response capabilities, or how to offset the attrition on Israeli society that would be generated by fear of Iranian nukes," one source said. The Israeli government spokesman later denied the report after its wide distribution.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Israel's inner cabinet held an urgent session Wednesday to discuss advanced Iranian nuclear bomb timeline to 2009
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 10, 2007
The inner cabinet met Wed. Nov. 7, to discuss the shortened timeline estimate for Iran to attain a nuclear weapons capacity, based on new intelligence information. IDF intelligence chief Brig. Yossi Baidatz told the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday that Iran would have this capacity by late 2009. debkafile's Washington sources report that American nuclear and intelligence experts agree on the timetable after poring over the new intelligence input. This includes materials gathered in the Israel attack of Syria's nuclear installation on Sept. 6.