DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 24, 2007
The Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has said to everyone in sight that he will not attend the Washington peace conference the White House is promoting for November unless he is assured of progress on core issues and on Palestinian statehood. Otherwise, he says, the event is futile. Without him, there is no conference.
After turning a deaf ear not only to Abbas, but also to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both of which prefer to stay away, Condoleezza Rice has come up with a fresh tactic. Instead of the smallish Israel-Arab forum originally planned, which she too realizes has nowhere to go, the secretary is trying to jazz the event up with momentum for a big international summit.
Now she is talking about inviting the entire Arab League, which would include Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the Maghreb nations, as well as a couple of Muslim rulers.
The US secretary knows perfectly well that the larger the forum, the less the chance of consensus on action or substantive issues. But even resolutions that are mere generalities, she believes, can be sold to the Arab and Muslim world as a demonstration that the Bush administration is making good on its pledge to bring about progress for a solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 17, 2007
Tzahi Hanegbi: We cannot tolerate the shooting on our southern border. Sooner or later we will have to take hard decisions, including stopping "the pampering of Gaza's inhabitants" - a reference to proposals to shut down Israel-supplied power whenever a missile is fired. "Looking after our own poor must come first. We must therefore be tough," said Hanegbi.
Israeli cabinet warned: Hamas on West Bank is ordered from its Damascus HQ to prepare large-scale suicide attack in Israel<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 29, 2007
The deputy security service chief told the ministers Sunday, Aug. 26, that since Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip two months ago, Palestinian terrorist groups had managed to smuggle in 40 tons of explosives - and, most recently, 150 recoilless propelled grenade launchers, RPGs.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: Three Gazan Palestinian terrorist groups claim failed suicide attack early Saturday amid escalating hostilities
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 28, 2007
The two suiciders used ropes to climb over the border fence near Netiv Ha'asara north of Gaza and hurled grenades at the Coordination Command Office at Erez. The Golani Brigade cornered the pair and shot them dead. One soldier was injured in the shootout. Fatah-al Aqsa, the Democratic Front and the Popular Committees claimed the attack.
Sunday noon, Israeli helicopters struck a N. Gazan Qassam missile launch site near Beit Hanoun, after three were fired into Israel. The Palestinian team escaped unharmed.
DEBKA Military Report analyses the mounting perils on three of Israel's borders.
Israeli forces kill 4 Jihad Islami gunmen in West Bank town of Jenin and village near Tulkarm early Saturday
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 27, 2007
In both cases, the Palestinian gunmen, including the Jihad Jenin commander, were killed when they began shooting at Israeli undercover units come to detain wanted terrorists. A Bedouin boy was killed in the crossfire.
debkafile reports the rising violence on the West Bank points up the inability of Mahmoud Abbas, prime minister Salam Fayyad and their security forces to exercise control over the towns and villages in their jurisdiction.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 26, 2007
As life in areas abutting the Gaza Strip becomes increasingly hellish and dangerous, their Israeli inhabitants feel as though they live in a forgotten land.
debkafile sources report this sensation was dramatized Saturday, Aug. 25, by the display of astonishing new Palestinian military capabilities and their determination to use them - in the face of a quiescent central government and high command.
For the past week, terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip have been escalating. They peaked Saturday with an incident that fell just short of a calamity by a fluke. debkafile's military sources say: This incident threw up in sharp relief the perils in store for as long as the Olmert government holds the military back from its plan to carve out of security buffer strip inside Gaza.
On Israel's third front, the Lebanese border, debkafile's military sources reveal that Iran has just completed laying a broad strategic highway connecting the Hizballah-controlled Beqaa Valley on the Syrian border with the Shiite group's new fortified bases, complete with missiles pointing at Israel, at the northern reaches of the Litani River.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: Israel will reopen Nahal Oz crossing to Gaza Sunday. The gate was closed to fuel deliveries in response to a terror threat
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 19, 2007
Parts of Gaza City are dark. Since Wednesday, Israel has prevented fuel trucks from approaching the crossing.
debkafile reports that all the crossings into Gaza are constantly battered by Palestinian missiles and mortars. Friday, a Qassam missile exploded outside the Nahal Oz gateway after rounds of mortar fire.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 18, 2007
The mouth of the tunnel was discovered 700 meters inside the Gaza border outside Beit Lahiya. It was dug under tomato greenhouses of Netiv Ha'Asara north of Gaza. Israeli intelligence believes the subterranean passage was intended to carry infiltrators under the border for attacks against an Israeli town to the north of Gaza.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Fatah leader in secret talks with Hamas behind Abbas' back<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2007
debkafile's Middle East sources reveal that Mahmoud Abbas' close adviser, Jibril Rajoub, is holding secret talks with the Gazan Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad. At his meeting with the Israeli prime minister Monday, Abbas planned to demand further gestures of support, such as the release of more Palestinian prisoners, the removal of roadblocks and progress on fundamental issues. Realistically, their positions were too far apart for an agreed agenda.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Olmert greets Rice with further concessions for Abbas despite discovery of Palestinian fraud over Israel amnesty<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 7, 2007
It has come to light, according to our military sources, that the weapons handed in two weeks ago by 168 Fatah-al Aqsa Brigade terrorists in return for immunity from Israel military pursuit were World War I vintage Italian carbines left behind by Turkish troops when they quit the country in 1917 and Mauser rifles from the 1930s. None of the terrorists surrendered their personal side-arms according to their pledge.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Israel taken aback by Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad's insistence that "resistance" is "legitimate" Palestinian right<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 3, 2007
The pro-US Fatah head of the Ramallah government, Salam Fayyad, stated at an Arab League Council meeting in Cairo Monday, July 30: "We are an occupied nation and resistance is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people."
debkafile notes: "Resistance" is the Palestinian euphemism for armed terror including suicide bombing.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: 200 defiant Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades terrorists threaten fresh wave of anti-Israel violence unless they are included in amnesty
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 1, 2007
They are up in arms against the deal struck by prime minister Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas a week ago to waive Israeli military pursuit of 179 wanted al Aqsa Brigades gunmen for three months, against a pledge to renounce terrorism and surrender their side arms. The 200 mutineers have informed Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas and their commanders that as long as they are subjected to IDF pursuit and detentions, they have no reason to hold back on terrorist activity against Israeli forces and civilians on the West Bank.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Abbas convenes PLO Council session Wednesday in ploy to obtain legitimacy for Fatah's West Bank government <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2007
The umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organization brings together most Palestinian parties and factions excluding Hamas for the next stage in the battle for legitimacy between the Fatah government in Ramallah and the Hamas administration in Gaza. The government headed by Salim Fayyad was declared transitional after he failed to obtain parliamentary endorsement last week when a Hamas boycott left the legislature without a quorum for voting. Abbas has therefore summoned heads of overseas Palestinian parties and splinter factions to circumvent the legislature and endorse his caretaker administration. The Olmert government is assisting his effort by allowing blacklisted terrorist leaders to attend.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: Veteran terrorist Damascus-based Naif Hawatmeh waives Israeli permit to travel to West Bank <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2007
Mahmoud Abbas requested Israeli permits for blacklisted Hawatmeh, Fatah political bureau leader Farouk Kaddoumi and three others radical PLO faction leaders to attend a Council meeting in Ramallah Wednesday to endorse his Fatah government.
In token of his support for the Fatah leader, debkafile's exclusive sources report Ehud Olmert is being flexible - even though their arrival in Ramallah would grant the Damascus-based Palestinian rejectionists their first accepted presence on the West Bank.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 16, 2007
Even in Middle East terms, the turnaround which has produced a new American master plan is amazingly swift. The Bush administration, egged on by the Saudis, believes it has set in motion a complicated process for manipulating Israel into easing its forces out of the West Bank.
This is stipulated by Hamas and Jihad Islami as their condition for halting Qassam missile attacks on Israel. Above all, it will open the way for Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah and the Islamist Hamas to negotiate an end to their feud.
The Israeli government's compliance with this plan, which would ideally also halt Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel, is behind President George W. Bush's Middle East statement Monday, and the Olmert-Abbas Jerusalem meeting midday. The US president sees his two-state vision as feasible only if Fatah-West Bank and Hamas-Gaza can come to terms since neither can form a viable Palestinian state without the other.
It also explains the incoming president Shimon Peres' apparent lapse when he said to AP Sunday, July 15, the day of his swearing-in: "We must get rid of the territories."
Notorious Damascus-based Palestinian terror chief Nayef Hawatmeh asks Israel for permission to enter Ramallah<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 14, 2007
The ageing head of the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian claims he is no longer an active terrorist, but debkafile reports he has sent his adherents to join the pro-Syrian Fatah al-Islam battling the Lebanese army for two months in the northern Nahr al Bared camp.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 13, 2007
The bomber opened fire on soldiers manning the roadblock on Highway 57 between Shavei Shomron and Einav in the northern district of the West Bank. He was killed by return fire. Three explosive devices were found in his vehicle.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Secret Fatah-Hamas peace talks open in Stockholm under Iranian-Saudi aegis
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2007
The rival Palestinian factions began talking in the Swedish capital Sun. July 8, about burying the hatchet. This is revealed exclusively by debkafile's Iranian sources. They are discussing reconstituting their national unity government three weeks after Hamas's coup unseated the Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority government in the Gaza Strip.
If the Stockholm track works, Saudi Arabia and Iran come out on top as Palestinian sponsors and sideline Egypt.
Read more about this unforeseen development in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
Twenty British lawmakers want to engage Hamas after its help in freeing BBC reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2007
They include MPs from all three parties including Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Their petition said Hamas because of its pivotal role in ending the kidnap should join Palestinian reconciliation efforts. The motion was tabled by the ruling Labor's Richard Burton. Hamas is boycotted by western powers as an extremist terrorist group dedicated to destroying Israel by violence. The Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit whom Hamas-led raiders kidnapped a year ago is still in captivity.
The reporter, who was freed Tuesday night, described his ordeal as a hostage in solitary confinement for 114 days like being "buried alive."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 9, 2007
debkafile's Iran sources reveal that Fatah and Hamas representatives have launched secret talks to patch up their quarrel. Their first session took place in Stockholm Sunday, July 8, under the guiding hands of the Iranian and Saudi ambassadors.
Hamas sent operations chief Imad al Alami from Damascus to face Eugine Makhloof ,the PLO ambassador in Sweden, who is acting on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah.
But before sitting down to the talks, the Hamas official first checked in with Iranian leaders in Tehran to make sure their agendas dovetailed.
With war clouds hanging over the region this summer, said the Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Palestinian unity is the order of the day, essential to the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bloc as a strategic asset in its coming conflict with the US and Israel.
The same advice came from UAE president Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan to visiting Mahmoud Abbas when they met Sunday. The Fatah leader was persuaded to lose no time in mending Palestinian factional fences.