DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 19, 2011
Israeli living near Gaza woke up Saturday, March 19, to the most massive mortar attack in years – 50 rounds fired in 15 minutes. Two civilians were injured and substantial damage caused to property. Hamas has unusually claimed responsibility, emboldened by the support it has won from a new ally, Egypt, which is also forging new ties with Syria - and the Netanyahu government's disregard of the changing winds blowing in from Egypt including Cairo's de facto recognition of Hamas rule in Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 14, 2011
Though divided between Hamas-ruled Gaza and Fatah-ruled Ramallah, the Palestinians are holding protests in both places against both their governments Tuesday, March 15, demanding that they heal the rift and reconnect the two territories.
debkafile's military sources report that Israel's military and police are on the highest state of preparedness lest the demonstrators storm out of Palestinian towns on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and rampage against nearby Israeli communities and towns.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 12, 2011
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas received a stern ticking-off when he called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Saturday, March 12, to condemn the savage murder Friday night by Palestinian terrorists of the parents and three small children of an Israeli family while they slept at their home at Itamar on the West Bank. The Prime Minister, knowing Abbas had quietly tipped Fatah heads to endorse the perpetrators, accused him of hypocrisy. Does Abbas want to stir up another Palestinian uprising?
DEBKAfile Special Report March 10, 2011
An annual intelligence report to Congress has dropped language stating that Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions are a future option and speaks in terms of the present, indicating a radical switch in US policy on Iran. As rocketing oil prices triggered by Arab uprisings wiped out the sanctions damage to Iran, Washington confirmed the worst Saudi and Israeli suspicions that Barack Obama had come to terms with a nuclear-armed Iran, after the US long restrained Israel from nipping this menace in the bud.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 7, 2011
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has joined the foreign and domestic chorus pushing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to launch a fresh initiative to end the stalemate in the peace process with the Palestinians. debkafile's analysts advise Netanyahu to hold his horses until the Arab revolt is better defined and the shape of the Palestinian leadership and state emerging from the Middle East turmoil is clearer. Arab protesters are ignoring Israel and, for now, its conflict with the Palestinians is a non-issue.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 4, 2011
The prospects of Egypt resuming its gas supplies to Israel dropped to zero Thursday, March 3 when Egypt's state security prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmud announced that deposed president Hosni Mubarak would be summoned for questioning next week about allegedly corrupt deals for selling Israel Egyptian gas at knock-down prices, debkafile's Cairo sources report. He also plans to issue arrest warrants against Israeli and American partners in EMG, the firm set up jointly for the gas deal. The military rulers are not interfering.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 24, 2011
Israel's security leaders ought not to have been surprised when Hamas fired two long-range Iranian-made Grad missiles Wednesday night, Feb. 23 at the Negev cities of Beersheba and Netivot. The attack occurred exactly when Iranian Navy commander Adm. Habibollah Sayyari was due in Syria's Latakia port to attend the welcoming party for the two Iranian warships which made it through the Suez Canal without US or Israeli interference. It also marked a fresh, redoubled Hamas offensive against Israel.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 19, 2011
The two Iranian warships transited the Suez Canal and have reached the Mediterranean, Iran state TV announced Sunday, Feb. 20. Cairo is still saying they will sail only Monday. debkafile reports Tehran and Cairo have connived fake delays to obscure the ships' movements. Egypt's military rulers' permission for their passage was not contingent on an inspection of their freights for banned cargo. Sunday, the region was beset with a sandstorm which would have masked the flotilla from spy satellites.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 18, 2011
Without serious aforethought, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak waved through another 3,000 Egyptian troops into North Sinai, raising their number to 4,000 and virtually scrapping the key demilitarization clause of the 1979 peace treaty. No conditions were laid down and no timeline or operational limits set, debkafile's sources report. Israel asked the military rulers in Cairo – directly and through Washington - to deny Iranian warships passage through the Suez Canal – but was ignored.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2011
The US and Israel made the same mistake of using Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman as their single line of information on Egypt - and were caught napping. They are still woefully wanting on Egyptian political and military intelligence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 16, 2011
Twenty-four hours after Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Egyptian upheaval had no military connotations for Israel, the Iranian frigate Alvand and cruiser Kharg transited the Suez Canal on their way to Syria. Wednesday night, Feb. 16, their passage was termed "a provocation" by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. In Beirut, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said he was looking forward to Israel going to war on Lebanon because then his men would capture Galilee.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 14, 2011
The message Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, brought Israel Sunday, Feb. 13, was that the 1979 peace accord with Egypt is not in jeopardy. He tried giving this assurance to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Gen. Benny Gantz - who became Israel's 20th chief of staff Monday. Both sides ignored Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour's comment: Camp David is finished. Gen. Gantz has the job of overhauling the IDF for five fronts.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 12, 2011
Friday night, Feb. 11, as Egypt celebrated Hosni Mubarak exit, Israel counted the cost of losing its most important strategic partner in the region. Thirty-two years of peace leave Israel militarily unprepared for the unknown on their 270-kilometer long southern border; no experience of desert combat; an army trained and equipped only for the hostile fronts of Iran, Lebanon's Hizballah and Syria; a dearth of intelligence about the Egyptian army and its commanders, and no clue to the new rulers' intentions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 11, 2011
Israel's new chief of staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz is saddled with might task of rebuilding Israel's armed forces from scratch to fit the potential menace posed by the upheaval in Egypt. Ashkenazi worked closely with Washington to attune combined US-Israel military resources to possible combat with Iran.
DEBKAfile Special Expose February 8, 2011
Hamas while preparing follow-up attacks on the Sinai gas pipeline after Saturday's explosion has opened the Egyptian-Israeli border region to Al Qaeda jihadists, international smugglers and criminal gangs - all heading for the Israel border. Egypt lacks the manpower for securing the entire Sinai Peninsula. Its troops are concentrating on securing Sharm el Sheikh and the eastern bank of the Suez Canal. Hamas is left to prey on North Sinai and make it a launching pad for terror attacks on Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 5, 2011
Egypt's suspension of gas supplies to Israel after the North Sinai pipeline was blown up Saturday, Feb 5 has suddenly cut Israel off from 25-30 percent of its gas needs and 80 percent of Jordan's. After the blast, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq announced that gas supplied to both countries under contract would henceforth be diverted to domestic requirements. Israel is also deeply concerned by spreading Hamas occupation of North Sinai and on high alert for more sabotage of its power installations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 4, 2011
From mid-week Israel has been feeding Vice President Omar Suleiman intelligence at his request and with Washington's approval. It includes aerial intelligence from the main hubs of unrest and naval patrols to secure Suez Canal passage. Israel has beefed up its border units on the Egyptian border and surveillance of Hamas movements out of Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 2, 2011
Skillful choreography, not just spontaneous popular dissent, brought Hosni Mubarak's 30 years as president to an end Tuesday night, Feb. 2. In fact, the hands of the United States, Britain and Egyptian army heads were plain to see at every stage.The axing of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant as Israel's next chief of staff – on the same day - was contrived too. Maj. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi has been building momentum to challenge Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak as a future political leader.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 1, 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, Jan 31 he feared Egypt could end up with a radical Islamic regime as in Iran that would go against the region's interests for peace and stability.He also made the gesture of allowing the first Egyptian military troops to enter Sinai since the military since the 1979 peace treaty.
Netanyahu's first reactions to events in Egypt did not represent a far-sighted assessment of the fast-moving Egyptian epic but resistance to change.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 29, 2011
Egypt, one of the only two Arab states to sign peace with Israel, is wobbling dangerously on the brink of revolutionary change. This week, Israel was dismayed to find itself looking suddenly at three latently hostile fronts about to spring up around its borders: After Lebanon was dropped into the Iranian orbit, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood gained altitude, and Hamas, its Palestinian offshoot in Gaza, is making hay, puffing itself up as an important new Middle East player.