DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 31, 2009
Duped again by a Hamas promise to negotiate a long-term truce, Israel reacted by stepping up its air attacks over the Gaza Strip from Friday, Feb. 13, to hold down a fresh upsurge of Palestinian violence.
After spreading false reports that an 18-month truce and a deal for the release of the captive Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit were "hours away", Hamas jerked the carpet from under the Cairo talks in spite of Israel's over-generous concessions. Last week, Israel was persuaded by the Egyptian intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman to let Hamas leader Mahmud A-Zahar travel from Gaza to Cairo, Damascus and Qatar on the understanding that he would override hardline Khaled Meshaal and sign an extended truce deal.
Instead of signing, Hamas used the time gained to restock its arsenal after the beating it took from Israel's Gaza operation last month and regroup for a fresh cross-border offensive.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 23, 2009
Armed with warrants signed by the minister of international security Avi Dichter, hundreds of Israeli police prevented a string of Palestinian Authority-managed events celebrating "Jerusalem, Capital of Arab culture 2009" from taking place Saturday, March 21. Twenty Palestinians were detained. The law bans official Palestinian Authority activity in any part of Israeli territory.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 21, 2009
All too quickly Israel's three war leaders - prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Tzipi Livni - forgot the goals they set for the three-week military offensive launched against Hamas on Dec. 27, 2008: That Operation Cast Lead would not halt until security prevailed in southern Israel, that the eight-year Palestinian missile offensive be brought to an end and that Hamas never be allowed to rearm for a fresh assault of terror.
Six weeks later, the Islamists terrorists are reaping the spoils of a war they lost.
Jerusalem is feeding Egyptian mediators with concession after concession to keep Hamas at the negotiating table in Cairo and talking about a long-term truce.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 10, 2009
The pro-American Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad quit Saturday, March 7, three days before Hamas-Fatah power-sharing talks were to resume in Cairo and three days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with him and Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah - a blow to US prestige and one up for Iran's Palestinian proxy.
Read more about Hamas' machinations for its West Bank takeover in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 5, 2009
Ten Palestinian missiles struck Israel from the Gaza Strip Saturday, Feb. 28, including two heavyweight Grads aimed at Ashkelon. The number since Israel halted Operation Cast Lead Jan. 18 has risen to eighty - 81 Sunday night with a direct hit which set a Sderot home on fire.
debkafile's military sources directly correlate the upsurge of Palestinian rockets attacks on Israel and the setbacks in securing the release of the captive Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit with defense minister Ehud Barak's dogged insistence on the imminence of an Egyptian-brokered long-term ceasefire.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 26, 2009
Saturday, Jan. 10, Day 15 of Israel's Gaza Strip offensive against Hamas, top Palestinian leaders gathered in Cairo for ceasefire talks with Egyptian officials.
debkafile's military sources report that Jemal Abu Hashem, who rarely appears on public, Salah Bardaweel, leader of Hamas parliament faction, and Heiman Ta'a, member of the military wing's command, were allowed to exit Gaza Friday after signaling their willingness for the first time to discuss an unconditional ceasefire.
The Hamas delegates were preparing for their talks on Egypt's ceasefire proposals to begin Sunday with intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman, when their Damascus leader, Khaled Meshaal, dropped his bombshell.
Speaking over Damascus TV, he declared Hamas must fight on until Israel ends its military offensive, withdraws from the Gaza Strip and opened the enclave's crossings. Egypt too must open the Rafah gate. Hamas would never accept any restrictions on its armament - a hint at Israel-Egyptian plans to block the Philadelphi route - and would treat international monitors as an "occupation" force.
debkafile's sources report that the Hamas leader's emotional tirade raised suspicions in Jerusalem that he may have obtained pledges from Tehran and Hizballah to stage a last-ditch operation to save Hamas from collapse. They also noted the widening rift between Hamas-Damascus and Hamas-Gaza, which is paying dearly for Palestinian "resistance."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 17, 2009
Israel returned to targeted air strikes against Hamas Friday, Feb. 13 when reports from Cairo of an imminent long-term ceasefire proved to be red herrings despite major Israeli concessions, including low-powered responses to fresh Hamas attacks.
More about the breakdown of the Egyptian-mediated Gaza ceasefire in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2009
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 which disclosures of what he claimed to be Israel's last peace offer - and rejecting it out of hand.
Tzipi Livni used an apparent paradox to bury the two-state solution. In a speech she gave to high school pupils Thursday, Dec. 11, she said: "The place for Israeli Arabs to exercise their national aspirations is a future Palestinian state - not Israel, which is the Jewish national home." Livni's next comment: "No single Palestinian refugee will be admitted to Israel" was a roundabout message in the same vein to the Israeli Arab minority (a steady one-fifth of the population).
She clarified this later by saying that while Israeli Arabs would not be forced to leave or lose their civil rights, "those who wished to realize their national aspirations should look elsewhere," namely to a Palestinian state when it rises.
But what Palestine was she talking about?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2008
debkafile's counter-terror sources report that two residents of the Jerusalem village of Issawiya, Iyad Aabid, 20, and Abdullah Aabid, 21, were indicted Sunday, Dec. 14, on charges of plotting a series of terrorist attacks on Israeli Border Guard and army officers on duty in the neighborhood of their village. One plan was to ram a border patrol jeep, use electric shockers to stun the officers and take them hostage.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2008
The decision not to renew the six-month "truce" which expires on Dec. 19 was taken by Hamas-Gaza and its Damascus politburo, hours after Israel's offer of a renewal. debkafile reports the offer ordered by defense minister Ehud Barak aroused angry responses in Israel. At the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, ministers reproved Barak for making the offer without waiting for a government decision in the face of frequent Palestinian violations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 21, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that Israeli government leaders have misread the motives behind Hamas'two-week missile-rocket-mortar assault on Israel as jockeying for better terms when the six-month truce comes up for renewal next month. Their decision to mute Israel's military response to the ongoing violence stems from their misplaced expectation that the attacks will stop once the truce is in the bag.
Israeli intelligence circles challenge this perception.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2008
Thursday night, Nov. 13, the Palestinians fired five missiles, including two Grads, against Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and Or Haner. Suspense is building up around the Gaza Strip amid fears of a major Palestinian escalation.
debkafile's military and intelligence sources report that the foundering of the Gaza truce is the direct outcome of the Israeli government's passive military stance and over-reliance on Egypt to pull its Palestinian chestnuts out of the fire.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2008
The first salvo of seven Qassam missiles damaged buildings in the Eshkol farm district Monday, Nov. 17, followed by two in the evening that were aimed at Sderot. There were no casualties. Still, Israeli allowed 33 truckloads of supplies into Gaza following heavy international pressure and UNWRA renewed food supplies to the population. But fuel shipments are held up for as long as the Palestinians shoot.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2008
On one day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, there were 30 Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and border police officers on the West Bank, leaving four injured, including two policemen and an army platoon commander, debkafile's military sources report. Since last month, Israel units have been prohibited by the prime minister and defense minister from posting snipers to defend them against Palestinian firebomb ambuscades.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2008
Sumiya Abu Ghanem, 21, a nursery school teaching aide in the Israeli town of Ramle, was charged before the Petach Tikva district court Monday. She was detained a month ago as a result of a joint Border Police-Shin Bet operation. The charges against Abu Ghanem included conspiring to aid the Palestinian Fatah terrorist group in Gaza in a scheme to kidnap an Israeli. She was also asked to help secrete a Palestinian suicide killer into a crowded place in an Israeli town.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 16, 2008
The 44 Grad rockets, Qassam missiles and mortar rounds which blasted Israel from Gaza Wednesday, Nov. 5, were fired from houses close to the border fence which Hamas had turned into fortified firing positions.
debkafile's counter-terror sources disclose that an anti-tank missile strike against an IDF patrol south of the Kissufim Gaza crossing last Friday was carried out by al Qaeda.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 10, 2008
The Israeli air force knocked out a Palestinian missile launcher primed for attack in northern Gaza Saturday night, Nov. 7-8. The Palestinians responded with more missile fire at Ashkelon on the 4th consecutive day of their Gaza missile offensive. No one was hurt. During the day an Israeli patrol near Kissufim was targeted by Palestinian anti-tank missiles and returned the fire.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2008
More than 35 missiles have been fired against all the Israeli towns and villages within range of Gaza since early Wednesday, Nov. 5. Two upgraded Qassam missiles hit Ashkelon's main street and industrial zone. Three shock victims were hospitalized.
The Palestinian barrage followed a battle Tuesday night when an Israeli armored force crossed 250 meters deep into the Gaza Strip to demolish a Hamas tunnel ready for immediate activation as a terror-cum-kidnap device. Six Israeli soldiers were wounded.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 22, 2008
Israeli towns and villages encircling the Gaza Strip went on on high missile alert from Saturday night, Oct. 18 after incoming intelligence revealed that the Palestinian Hamas' military arm and Jihad Islami were preparing to shatter the three-month old ceasefire.
debkafile's military sources report that Hamas went on the warpath after a major difference flared with Egypt.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 21, 2008
An IDF military unit blew up the first suspected bomb tunnel built by Palestinians to be discovered on the West Bank Tuesday, Oct. 14. It was located west of Hebron near an Israeli military position overlooking the Trans-Judean highway. The Hamas has used bomb tunnels frequently with deadly effect against Israeli forces in and around the Gaza Strip.