DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 17, 2009
Israeli president Shimon Peres and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu have begun exchanging messages with Syrian president Bashar Assad through a new channel of communications opened in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, debkafile's diplomatic sources reveal. When Assad arrived in Baku Wednesday, July 8, he found a message waiting for him with the Azeri president Ilham Aliyev.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 7, 2009
The Dolphin-class attack submarine is reported to be the first Israeli naval vessel to transit the Suez Canal in four years on its way from Haifa to Eilat last month. According to debkafile's military sources, the move indicates a strengthening of the informal Israel-Egyptian-Saudi pact forged in recent months against Iran and first revealed by our sources.
According to foreign military sources, the Israeli Dolphins are armed with torpedo tubes capable of launching nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 6, 2009
The Israeli government's decision Sunday, June 28, to extend Meir Dagan's service as director of Israel's external intelligence service, the Mossad, until the end of 2010 raised some dust in political circles - especially after his deputy resigned in a huff over the long wait for his turn at the helm.
As DEBKA-Net-Weekly 396 revealed on May 15 this year, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu mad this the decision last May for the sake of an orderly transition.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click DEBKA-Net-Weekly.com?ref=001">HERE.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 30, 2009
Despite his pledge to keep security considerations uppermost in his dealings with the Palestinians, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is buckling under pressure from the US administration aimed at softening Israel up ahead of Middle East peace talks.
This pressure turned Netanyahu's first official visits to Rome and Paris sour. He agreed to pull the IDF out of the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho and Qalqilya, without Italian or French budging on their demands for a settlement freeze in line with Washington.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2009
In less than a month, aides in Washington and Jerusalem have transmuted the head-on clash forecast for the first meeting between Binyamin Netanyahu has Israel's prime minister and US president Barack Obama Monday, May 18, into a warm, amicable encounter, debkafile's political analysts say.
This is less thanks to the Likud prime minister having softened his positions on Iran and the Palestinian issue, more to the political furor gripping Democratic Washington and the fraying of the president's key Middle East policies: Expectations of constructive dialogue with Tehran have receded, the Turkish-Syrian get-together Obama fostered has turned its back on Washington and the Palestinians are incapable of uniting on power-sharing or representation.
Options for curtailing Iran's nuclear program will be tossed back and forth at length, according to Netanyahu's national security adviser Uzi Arad. He has said that so long as the Islamic Republic never gets its hands on a bomb, it is immaterial how this objective is achieved.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2009
Ruling circles in Tehran have interpreted a remark by Israel's Mossad director Meir Dagan as signifying Jerusalem's non-interference in the domestic turmoil besetting the regime over the disputed presidential election, debkafile's Iranian sources report. They see Israel lining up with the mainstream Arab governments such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have watched Iranian unrest for ten days with hardly a word.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2009
Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak said his talks in Cairo Sunday, June 21, with President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian defense minister Gen. Tantawi and intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman were interesting and wide-ranging.
Iran obviously figured high on their agenda with both sides trading views, intelligence input and evaluations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 20, 2009
Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech at the Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Hall Sunday, June 14, failed to offer a new diplomatic beginning for approaching the intractable conflict with the Palestinians, according to debkafile's analysts. He finally accepted the two-state solution promoted by US president Barak Obama but tagged on some tough consensual conditions which none of his predecessors had the courage to put squarely on the table.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 19, 2009
Israeli prime minister Binyamin for the first time spoke in favor of a Palestinian state alongside Israel in his speech at Bar Ilan University Sunday, June 14. But only on condition that the Palestinian state is demilitarized, does not control its air space, accepts effective security arrangements against arms smuggling, may not sign military treaties and finally recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.
The White House says this endorsement is a step forward. The Palestinians call it sabotage.
On Iran, he reiterated the danger to the world of extremist Islam meeting nuclear weapons.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 13, 2009
If successful, Binyamin Netanyahu's first meeting as Israeli prime minister with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at Sharm el Sheikh Monday, May 11, may well mark an epic turning-point in Middle East history recalling the 1979 peace breakthrough with Egypt. Their common goals - and Mubarak speaks for the Saudi king Abdullah on this issue - are the formation of an Arab-Israeli front against Iran and putting a spoke in US president Barack Obama's planned detente with Tehran.
Most of all, the Netanyahu government utterly rejects the Palestinian-Iran tradeoff proposed by the Obama administration - and reaffirmed by US National adviser Gen. James Jones Sunday - that a two state-solution would diminish Iran's existential threat to Israel.
Israel points out that no guarantees are offered for the latter. Therefore, Netanyahu prefers to put the Iranian menace on a different, regional footing.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 9, 2009
Israeli president Shimon Peres' task in Washington on May 4-5 is to blunt the sharp edge the White House is honing to force Israel to toe the new Washington line on the Palestinians, Syria and Iran.
Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu can expect the full force of a bludgeon to be wielded in his White House talks on May 18.
debkafile's Washington sources report that their host is fired up to be the first US president in decades of close friendship and cooperation to clash openly with Israel and the bulk of US Jewry. Oblivious to Israel's claim of US support for its security in a hostile regional environment, Barack Obama is expected to squeeze the Netanyahu government hard for immediate engagement on the Middle East conflict without further delay.
Peres and Netanyahu will be informed that Washington is setting up two trilateral peace commissions to hammer out peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel with the Syrians.
US officials in both chairs will intercede with their own ideas to prevent them running into deadlock on disputed issues.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 8, 2009
Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, director of Israeli military intelligence (AMAN) research division, estimates that Iran will have accumulated enough fissile material to build its first nuclear bomb by the end of this year. Iran's nuclear clock is ticking away faster than international diplomacy.
The US demand not to provide for natural growth is not reasonable, said prime minister Netanyahu.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 3, 2009
debkafile reports the apparently deranged shooter, Yoel Almog Danashvili, 48, told police he felt threatened by an Arab who approached him while he was meditating on a busy Jerusalem intersection early Tuesday, June 2, and shot him dead. Again fearing attack, he later shot two Jews, injuring one badly. When questioned by the police, he said he was the Messiah. Danashvili was licensed to carry a firearm from his former job as a security guard in Ashdod. A Jerusalem court remanded him for eight days.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 28, 2009
The detailed report compiled by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington last month, complete with graphs and diagrams, has been reprinted in thousands of copies in Tehran. It is compulsory reading for its intelligence and Revolutionary Guards personnel because the Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran's Nuclear Development Facilities concludes that the Jewish state has all the resources necessary for a successful strike.
The CSIS paper maintains there is no need to destroy dozens or hundreds of sites; the destruction of seven to nine targets would be enough to cripple the Iranian program.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 27, 2009
Deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai outlined the nationwide civil defense exercise to be staged next week in a briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Monday, May 25. Next Tuesday, he said, sirens would send the entire population heading for the nearest shelters or protected sites.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 27, 2009
A senior Israel intelligence official criticized Israel ministers for jumping on the German "Der Spiegel" report which claimed that the UN tribunal on the case of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Hariri had new evidence implicating Hizballah leader Nasrallah rather than Syria.
Absolving Syria of complicity in the crime suggests that the sources of the leak to the German newspaper had their own political agenda.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 26, 2009
debkafile: However many outposts are evacuated, the Obama administration will object strenuously to an Israeli strike against Iran. This is clear to prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and is unlikely to change in defense minister Ehud Barak's talks in Washington next week.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 24, 2009
US president Barack Obama's plan to launch a fresh Middle East initiative is a non-starter as long as the extremist Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, said Shin Bet (internal security agency) director Yuval Diskin Tuesday, May 19. He was commenting on the extensive talks the US president held with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House Monday.
In Gaza, the Hamas spokesman denounced the US president and forbade the Palestinian Authority to engage in peace talks.
Israel's policy-makers must decide once and for all whether to topple the Hamas regime which in his view can be done without reoccupying the Gaza Strip.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 24, 2009
In response to twin Qassam missile attack on Sderot from Gaza Tuesday, May 19, the Israeli Air Force went into action early Wednesday against a range of Hamas positions in Rafah, Khan Younes, Zeitun and Tufah suburbs of Gaza city and, Deir Balakh. debkafile's military sources report that several Sinai-Gaza smuggling tunnels, missile foundries and three Hamas command posts in Gaza City were struck in Israel's most extensive Gaza raid since its major offensive ended in January. The Palestinians reported casualties.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 23, 2009
The new US president's dramatic global policy shifts have easily dwarfed the knotty Israeli-Palestinian peace issue handed down from one US president to the next over decades. Barack Obama's outstretched hand to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Iran's best friend in the Americas, on April 17, at the summit of American leaders in Port of Prince, made the talk surrounding Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell's mission to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week sound eerily like voices from the past.
Barack Obama has set his sights and heart on friendship with the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and their radical allies. The name and policies of the occupant of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem do not matter - any more than Tehran's determination to complete its nuclear weapons program in defiance of the world, or even its first A-bomb test in a year or two, for which intelligence sources report Tehran is already getting set.
Washington may believe it can live with a nuclear-armed Iran - a decision probably taken first under the Bush presidency. But Israel cannot.
Binyamin Netanyahu can either follow in the steps of Menahim Begin who bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor, or bow in the wind until the Obama tempest blows over.