DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 9, 2002
Ariel Sharon's dozen years in the political wilderness - plus the bitter sniping suffered by his ten predecessors as Israeli prime minister - taught him some basic math: The best way to downsize your parliamentary opposition is to upsize your coalition government. Straight after his landslide election victory in February 2001, Sharon rolled up his sleeves and constructed a bumper coalition government, declaring the country needed a national unity administration to take on the spiraling Palestinian terror. The result: 25 more or less biddable ministers, a bevy of deputy ministers, depleted opposition benches and a frustrated country with little voice in policy-making.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2002
On August 14, after repeated delays, the Israeli security cabinet finally held a special meeting to review the country's preparedness for unconventional warfare. It decided to vaccinate 15,000 "first response" personnel against smallpox, as a first stage of a general vaccination campaign against a possible bio-weapons attack originating in Iraq or carried out by Saddam's Palestinian proxies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 21, 2002
Israel's security and police authorities are keeping their aces well covered even after publicizing their coup on Wednesday, August 21. Saturday night, August 16, they captured a six- man cell of Jerusalemite Arabs, all bearing Israeli identity cards, who admit to complicity in executing 8 of the most devastating terrorist attacks in the last three months, in which 35 Israelis died and dozens were gravely wounded in different parts of the country.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 18, 2002
When in the past Israel was beset with extreme economic distress, its finance ministers were to be found in Washington, lobbying hard for help - even in the form of symbolic investment for boosting the country's financial credibility and morale. Yet finance minister Sylvan Shalom has given up transatlantic travel, even though the Sharon government enjoys exceptionally cooperative relations with the Bush administration.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 18, 2002
The Bush administration, which only last month sought $200m in special counter-terror aid for Israel, has just suspended its allocation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2002
Israeli decision makers are divided over whether the newly elected Greek Orthodox Patriarch Irineos I genuinely means to exit the Palestinian loop or is putting on a manipulative act to win Israeli government recognition.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 7, 2002
Israel's defense minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer may have started out with a small plan to do down Haim Ramon, his rival for the Labor party leadership, and perhaps steal the Likud prime minister Ariel Sharon's limelight. He has ended up writing a powerful recipe for Yasser Arafat's re-accreditation at a time of surging Palestinian terrorism.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 6, 2002
The so-called "dirty" or radiological bombs are conventional devices that spread radioactive contamination over large areas. Last May, the US authorities picked up a suspected al Qaeda terrorist feared to be plotting to build and set off one of these devices. Abu Zabaydah, the only senior al Qaeda operative in US hands, revealed that his organization is capable of assembling a radiological bomb. This week, a Stanford International Studies Institute research database recorded 700 cases of smuggled radioactive materials worldwide.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 4, 2002
The Palestinian terrorist machine molded by Yasser Arafat executed seven terror attacks against Israelis in a single day, no doubt achieving a gruesome world record. Eleven people died - soldiers and civilians, Jews, Arabs, Druzes and two Filipina women. Close to 100 were injured; many will remain invalids. The question on every lip at the end of this black day is this: What is Sharon waiting for? All the Palestinian groups, buoyed up by what is seen as Ariel Sharon's slack responses, have joined forces for yet another a mighty effort to beat the Israelis - and most of all their armed forces - into the ground.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 24, 2002
Various politicians lost no time in capitalizing on the genuine shock, condemnation and remorse in Israel and overseas over the death of children and civilians in Monday's Israeli F16 warplane bombing of a residential district of Gaza City. More than one previous attempt to hit the Hamas's top gun, Salah Shehada, was put off when he was found to be in civilian company. The Israeli army admitted that it erred in not calling off the F16 strike too, but stressed that Shehada, founder and commander of the Hamas's suicidal Ezz-e-din al-Qassam, had knowingly cut short the lives of many Palestinian youths by sending them on suicidal homicide missions against Israeli children, as a matter of policy. Shortly before he was cut down, he began passing directives from Gaza to the West Bank, to initiate a fresh wave of suicide killings.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 6, 2002
Accelerated diplomatic momentum is in the air, along with the apparent slowdown of Palestinian suicidal terrorist action against Israel. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's two senior envoys, his political adviser Osama el Baz and intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman, arrive Sunday, July 7, for talks in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 19, 2002
Israeli troops rolled into Jenin, Nablus, Qalkilya, and Hebron Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, June 18-19, in retaliation for a terror attack that was shocking even by the standards of the continually escalating cycle of Palestinian suicide massacres of Israeli civilians. Eighteen commuters and the bus driver died, and more than fifty were injured when, in Tuesday morning's rush hour, 22-year old Mohammed al-Ghoul from the West Bank refugee camp of Al-Faraa, detonated a huge bomb packed with ball-bearings and sharp nails in the 32A bus at the busy Pat junction of south Jerusalem.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 22, 2002
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appointed former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, to head a team to probe events at the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin during the eight days of Israel's fierce battles with Palestinian terrorists.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 25, 2002
For the avowed purpose of giving the Zinni mission a chance, Israel pulled its tanks and troops out of Palestinian-ruled areas the day he arrived, March 14. Since then, raging Palestinian terror has claimed 23 Israeli lives and injured 218.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 20, 2001
Israel did not dawdle after the Palestinians rejected its ultimatum. Thursday morning, October 18, one day after a Palestinian Popular Front hit team assassinated Cabinet Minister Rehavam Zeevi, Israel tanks, helicopters and ground troops were at the doors of the Palestinian West Bank towns of Jenin and Ramallah. They had embarked on a major operation to round up wanted terrorist activists and eradicate the Palestinians' physical terror infrastructure.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 7, 2001
On the day the late Yitzhak Rabin's daughter was named deputy defense minister, a Jerusalem magistrate issued a 103-page decision that gave weight to some of the wildest conspiracy theories surrounding the late prime minister's assassination on Nov. 4, 1995. Justice Shulamit Dotan partially acceded to a request from Shin Bet agent Avishai Raviv, who is on trial for neglecting to alert his superiors to the right-wing extremist Yigael Amir's assassination plot.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
On June 26, Syria opened the Damascus-Golan road to Quneitra to civilian traffic for the first time since the Six-Day War of 1967. No announcement was made. The dozens of military roadblocks studding the 60 km high road connecting the capital with the Syrian part of Golan for 40 years were removed, except for two - one at the entrance to Qunetra from the Syrian end and one at the town's exit to Israeli Golan. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources report that this measure went mostly unnoticed, although it made Israeli military intelligence sit up.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's intelligence sources disclose that a year ago, in June 2006, Syrian military intelligence recruited several hundred Golan refugees for a new framework called the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights. They were trained for terror operations, blowing up roads and bridges, attacks on military camps and convoys and hostage-taking.