DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 6, 2009
Against Israel's release of 20 Palestinian women-prisoners, Hamas will hand over Friday, Oct. 2, a "sign-of'-life" video-tape of Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit who has spent more than three years in captivity. Both Jerusalem and Hamas spokesmen stressed that this was no more than a small step on a long road ahead before the German-mediated, Egyptian-sponsored negotiations brought Sgt. Gilead Shalit home.
But debkafile's military sources say the negotiations are far more advanced than claimed by those officials and many disputed points have already been cleared up.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 28, 2009
In an impassioned speech to the UN General Assembly Thursday, Sept 24, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the United Nations' most important mission today is to prevent "the tyrants of Tehran" from acquiring nuclear weapons, because the marriage of religious fanaticism and weapons of mass destruction would endanger the world. He slammed the UN report which held Israel guilty of war crimes in its Gaza operation last January, accusing its authors of "equating terrorists and their victims." Israel must be sure that peace talks with the Palestinians don't produce "another Gaza."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 26, 2009
debkafile's military sources report that dozens of low-flying Israeli Air Force warplanes coasted over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for two hours Monday, Sept. 21 in a show of strength unparalleled since 100 IAF jets practiced long-distance flights in June 2008 against Russian-made S-300 anti-missile systems based in Greece.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 19, 2009
The blood libels beloved of anti-Semites through the ages echoed clearly from the unsupported op-ed article freelance reporter Donald Bostrom ran in the Swedish Aftonbladet newspaper last week.
All the same, debkafile's political sources say the diplomatic crisis which has since blown up between Israel and Sweden would have faded quickly had a lot less noise issued from Jerusalem and Stockholm acted with less arrogance. As it is, the European and some US media seized on the tiff and trotted freelancer Bostrom out to repeat the offending charge.
Bostrom's article drew on one Palestinian family's claim in the 1990s that they suspected the Israeli military of stealing the organs of their son whose body was returned five days later after he was killed by Israeli forces. Their suspicion was based on a cut in his midsection. Another 20 Palestinian families then stepped up with the same charge.
When asked, the Israeli military spokesman explained that in the 1990s, autopsies were routine for Palestinians killed in clashes to ascertain that Israeli troops had acted in accordance with their orders and rules of engagement.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 14, 2009
The Israeli military has been ordered to investigate the cause of the F-16 crash in which Lt. Assaf Ramon, 20, promoted posthumously to captain, lost his life on a training flight in battle formation 80,000 ft. over the Hebron hills. The pilot of the second jet taking part in the exercise reported that 30 seconds before the crash, Assaf Ramon had stopped responding to communications, suggesting that a sharp turn may have affected his faculties, perhaps causing a momentary blackout.
US Middle East envoy George Mitchell conveyed the American people's condolences to the Ramon family for the tragedy of "a young man who died in his prime and in the line of duty."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 14, 2009
The second Israeli cabinet-level discussion in the last few days on the Iranian threat - nuclear and regional - took place Monday, Sept. 7, in the inner cabinet, on the heels of a recent security cabinet meeting which surveyed Israel military and homeland security preparations for a missile attack from four sources, Iran, Syria, the Lebanese Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> confirms: Israeli PM Netanyahu DID NOT travel to Russia Monday as mistakenly reported <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 10, 2009
Our sources confirm as unfounded the media claims that prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu traveled secretly to Moscow Monday, Sept. 9 for talks with Russian leaders. He did not leave the country at all, either for Moscow or any other destination.
The erroneous accounts of his putative trip have caused the Israeli government acute diplomatic embarrassment. Wednesday, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin officially denied that they or any other high-ranking Russian officials had held talks with the Israeli prime minister or met him in Moscow.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 3, 2009
The Obama administration signalled a new mood of compromise on settlement construction just ahead of the key talks in New York between Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak and prime minister's adviser Yitzhak Molcho and US envoy George Mitchell Tuesday, June 30.
debkafile's political analysts attribute this change to four new developments:
The first two are:
1. The prospect of direct US-Iranian dialogue on the nuclear issue has vanished into the blue yonder as relations go from bad to worse in the aftermath of Iran's disputed presidential election. A tough US stance against Israel as a bargaining chip with Iran is no longer relevant.
2. Saudi Arabia has made it clear that even if the Netanyahu government surrenders to the US demand for a total halt in settlement activity, Arab concessions will not be forthcoming.
The Obama administration had factored Arab reciprocity into its campaign to halt Israel's settlement activity. When it was denied, the White House saw no point in continuing to lean on Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2009
After a witness reported seeing an Israeli soldier being bundled into vehicle by two men near Ben-Gurion airport Thursday, Aug 13, security roadblocks were thrown up and backed up traffic for miles in an expanded area of central Israel delimited by Kesem Exchange on Highway 6 and the Modi'in- Jerusalem Highway 443 including the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv. Exhaustive checks in IDF units and road vehicles bbelied found that no soldier was missing and the claim false.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 14, 2009
debkafile reports the Hamas delegation headed by Dr. Mahmoud a-Zahar exited Gaza through the Rafah crossing Saturday Aug. 8. Egyptian intelligence officers escorted them on their journey to Cairo for urgent consultations on an undisclosed subject. The Hamas leaders may proceed next to Damascus to confer with politburo chief Khaled Meshaal.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> lifts fog from the Obama-Netanyahu balance sheet
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 10, 2009
Almost a week after Israeli prime minister held his first talks with US president Barack Obama at the White House, last Tuesday, May 18, some of the fog obscuring their content is finally beginning to clear.
The White House was forced to rebut a major misapprehension, that the US president would use his June 4 speech in Cairo to launch a new Middle East peace plan.
There never was such a plan, debkafile's Washington sources confirm.
Obama did not demand the repartition of Jerusalem; neither is he keen to pursue the Palestinian issue at all at this time. He was mostly after space to engage in negotiation with Tehran without the threat of a surprise Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear sites hanging over the talks.
Netanyahu, on the one hand, persuaded Obama for the first time to accept a time limit for those talks; on the other, it is longer than Israel thinks safe. But he stood by his refusal to endorse Obama's "two state" solution of the Palestinian issue in return.
Still, he knew the deadline would be hard to sell at home, especially after Iran successfully test- fired its first accurate long-range surface to surface missile while he was still in Washington.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 26, 2009
debkafile's military sources report a serious setback in Israel's defenses against Iranian ballistic missiles. Thursday, July 23, the newly upgraded Arrow II missile defense system, poised for its first long-range test at the US Pacific range off the central California coast, could not be launched because of "interceptor problems."
This left Israel's key defense system, designed to intercept long-range Iranian or Syrian missiles 1,000 kilometers from their launch point, unproven.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 24, 2009
Sunday, July 19, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu sharply rejected the US demand handed to Israeli ambassador Michael Oran to halt construction of Jewish estate at the Shepherd's Hotel site in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu stressed that hundreds of Arab residents have purchased apartments in the west of the city without difficulty and there is no bar on Jews buying or building on the eastern side of Israel's open, undivided capital.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 24, 2009
Southern Nevadans were warned last week that 62 warplanes would take off twice a day from Nellis Air Force Base, home of 414th Combat US Training Squadron northwest of Las Vegas in the latest 11-day Red Flag exercise.
A large number of Israeli F-16C fighter-bombers from IAF Squadron 110 are taking advantage of the opportunity for mock combat drills in large groups and bombing missions with live ordnance.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2009
While Israeli prime minister appeals for peace talks with the Palestinians, Saudi and Egyptian rulers backed from Washington pursue a plan that will end up giving Hamas legitimacy and backstage veto power over peace talks with Israel.
Netanyahu needs to state where he stands on this scheme.
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.
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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.