DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 4, 2008
Vacillation or dithering was the original sin committed by the Olmert government in the Lebanon War and the primary cause of its inconclusive outcome, according to the panel set up to examine what went wrong.
The same deficiency dogs the government's handling of Hamas in Gaza, despite prime minister Ehud Olmert's pledge to correct his act. The belligerence of Hamas and its terrorist allies' escalates unchallenged and the fundamentalist Palestinian rulers of Gaza go from strength to strength, while the dithering goes on.
Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, they have decided a barrier along the border with Egypt is the answer, although it would take at least a year to build and would not be proof against Palestinian missiles against Eilat, for example.
Whether Olmert and Barak stay in power or make way for opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu is a petty irrelevance compared with the question of who will lead Israel and its army against a proactive enemy which presents the country with an existential peril in the present. Neither of the incumbents has so far come up to scratch.
debkafile's Middle East military sources maintain that the here and now are very much a part of the strategy developed by Iran and Syria for defeating - and if possible destroying -the Jewish state.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 3, 2008
Ahmed Qureia announced in Ramallah Sat. March 1 that peace talks with Israel were suspended. Jerusalem: This step contradicts Palestinian and Israeli commitment to fight terror regardless peace negotiations. Israel did not break off talks over Palestinian missile offensive against civilians. It is entitled to defend itself and determine the proportionality of its response to aggression.
Ronnie Yihya, 47, father of 4, was killed, 10 people injured, in heavy Palestinian missile-mortar barrage Wednesday<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 1, 2008
Ronnie Yihya was a student at Sapir College outside Sderot. He came from Moshav Bitchah near Ofakim in southern Israel. He was killed and a second student critically injured by a direct Qassam hit to the campus, Wednesday, Feb. 27.
More than 50 missiles and dozens of mortar rounds, fired from Gaza in five hours Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 27, crashed into Sderot, Shear Hanegev, the Off Kor factory's canteen, just after 200 employees had left, and several more civilian locations bordering on the Gaza Strip. The last four exploded in Ashkelon, causing a partial electricity outage. An extended-range Grad landed behind the Barzilai regional hospital.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 29, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that Thursday, Feb. 28, the day after 50 missiles were fired from Gaza, the internal security minister, Avi Dichter, was inspecting the damage to Sapir College, when one of his guards was hit in the leg. Both were near the spot where the student Ronnie Yihya was killed Wednesday. Dichter, a former Shin Bet director, was hurried into a nearby building.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 27, 2008
debkafile reports: The Palestinian masses did not rise to the summons for 40,000 individuals to turn out Monday, Feb. 25 and draw a human chain along the 40-km border Gazan-Israel to protest the Israeli blockade. Deterred by determined Israeli military preparations to halt their approach to the border and Israeli ministers' threats to shoot them in the legs if necessary," only a few demonstrators obeyed the summons.A disturbance by few dozen Palestinians was put down by Israeli border guards, one of whom was slightly injured. The large numbers stayed away when they realized Israel was resolved to forcibly thwart a repeat of Hamas' success a month ago when they knocked over the Egyptian border to open the gate for a massed Palestinian surge into Sinai.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 27, 2008
According to debkafile's military sources, each of the estimated half a million Gazans in flight, one-third of the total population, received a $300 grant, which accounts for the shopping spree they could suddenly afford. Hamas was therefore willing to spend $150 million on a maneuver for seizing control of an enclave in northern Sinai.
In Riyadh, meanwhile, Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal is holding talks Monday with the Hamas bureau chief Khaled Meshal.
Iran has offered to airlift tons of foodstuffs and medicines to El Arish airport for Egyptian authorities to distribute to the Palestinians. This step would bring Iranian airplanes into the Egyptian-Israeli border region for the first time. Three of the forces most directly involved in these seminal events are pushed to the fringes of the game: The United States, Egypt and Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 25, 2008
Beefed-up Israeli military and security forces prepare to repulse thousands of Palestinians planning to crash the full length of the Gazan-Israeli border and its crossings at 10:00 a.m. IT Monday, Feb. 25.
Behind the human shield of women, children and elderly leading the assault on Monday, Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah are expected to shoot, send in suicide bombers and unleash a Qassam barrage. If Israeli forces are goaded into opening fire, civilian casualties may be heavy enough to draw international condemnation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 24, 2008
Senior Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo proposed adopting this course Wed Feb. 20 if Israel continued to mark time in talks for a Palestinian state. He made the suggestion the day after prime minister Ehud Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni held another round of negotiations with Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qureia.
Qureia, Abd Rabbo's fellow negotiator Saed Erikat and Abbas' office wasted no time in knocking his idea down, whereas some Israelis asked: Why not? Let them strike out on their own.
Read debkafile's Special Report below on the pros and cons of applying the Kosovo model to the Palestinians.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Marwan Barghouti tops Hamas' high-profile terrorist list for kidnapped Israeli soldier<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 15, 2008
The Palestinian Hamas is turning the screws on terms for the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit in view of the Olmert government's soft response to its 39- missile barrage, including the attack which gravely injured two Sderot brothers Saturday.
debkafile's military sources reveal that, after holding the Israeli soldier for 20 months, Hamas has come up with a mixed bag of 12 lifers from Islamist and secular Palestinian terrorist groups
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Egypt braces for border showdown with Hamas, Israel sustains 30-missile pounding from Gaza
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 11, 2008
Friday, Feb. 8, Egyptian troops manning the Gaza-Sinai border were given extra security after Hamas threatened to attack them and stage kidnappings. They were told to stay together in armed groups of three and posted snipers on the rooftops of Rafah. Terrorist groups fired 30 missiles at Israeli civilians, targeting Ashkelon as well as Sderot and its neighbors. At least 10 people suffered shock and minor injuries. The damage was heavy.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly disclosed Friday that President Hosni Mubarak decided to crack down on the Hamas-led mass Palestinian invasion of Sinai after Saudi King Abdullah, a former Hamas patron, warned him that the Palestinian fundamentalists were on a rampage which unchecked could provoke destabilizing radical violence against Arab regimes.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click DEBKA-Net-Weekly.com?ref=001">HERE.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2008
Special security measures were imposed Tuesday, Feb. 5, in southern Israel, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where police guards at crowd centers were reinforced. Wednesday, a special cabinet will discuss the new situation.
A pair of Palestinian suicide bombers murdered Lyubov Razdolsky, 73, and injured 48 people including her husband who is in critical condition in the first suicide attack suffered by the southern Israeli town Dimona. A police officer shot the second bomber dead before he could detonate his charge.
It was also the first Palestinian suicide attack inside Israel since January 2007.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 6, 2008
After the Hamas-Jihad Islami terror machine was allowed to build up to formidable proportions, even a large-scale Israel military operation in the Gaza Strip will not easily stifle the missile and mortar campaign grinding down the Israeli population. However, the longer it is delayed, the harder it will be.
In the course of 2007, Palestinians in Gaza fired 2,359 missiles and mortar shells into Israel, double the 2006 figure. The current estimate is that, barring a full-scale counter-terror offensive in Gaza involving the call-up of reserves, the 2008 figure will soar past 4,000, and may well include volleys from the West Bank as well as Gaza.
In this offensive, the IDF's mission would entail liquidating the Hamas terrorist war infrastructure, clobbering the 12,000-strong armed Palestinians - many of whom may go to ground in the dense civilian population, demolishing their command centers, missile foundries and arms arsenals, and severing their smuggling routes from Egyptian Sinai to Gaza. This campaign would not be short or painless.
Israel's chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi put his finger on a key question when he asked what happens the day after the war.
Lyubov Razdolsky, 73, was murdered, 48 people injured, by pair of Palestinian suicide bombers in southern Israel town of Dimona
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2008
Her husband is still in critical condition. The terror alert has been raised in Israel to highest level, focusing on the South, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The first bomber wore a 5-10 kilo explosive vest and blew it up in Dimona's shopping center. Among the casualties were women and children. A second Palestinian bomber was shot dead by an Israeli police officer before he could detonate his device.
Fatah al Aqsa Brigades and Popular Front jointly claim attack, along with a Jihad Islami fringe group.
debkafile's military sources: Israel's secret nuclear center is located outside Dimona.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 3, 2008
No one was hurt.
Palestinians lobbed the first device at passing Israeli cars just out of Jerusalem south of Beit Jala. They missed and the device blew up harmlessly on the road. A second device hidden by the roadside then detonated. It was rigged to explode amid the vehicles which were to have been stalled by the first explosion and the emergency teams arriving on the scene. The bomb-trap failed. Police are scouring the route for more devices.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Much of southern Israel closed to civilian traffic, US and Israeli bases on high alert for Hamas incursions from Sinai
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 1, 2008
Most highways of the southern Negev - which adjoins the unfenced 220-km Egyptian Sinai frontier - were ordered shut to civilian traffic early Saturday, Jan. 26, until further notice. This is Israel's most extensive terror alert ever, debkafile's military sources report. The big Israeli and American air and military bases in the region are on high terror alert following intelligence warnings that Hamas, Jihad Islami and al Qaeda are preparing to launch suicide operations across the porous Egyptian border from N. Sinai.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Iran and Saudi Arabia step into Gaza crisis on Day 6 of Palestinian rampage in Sinai<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 1, 2008
Hamas bureau chief Khaled Meshaal is holding talks in Riyadh Monday, Jan. 28, while Sunday, a senior Iranian foreign ministry official arrived in Cairo.
Their intervention marks the failure of Egypt and Israel to anticipate the out-of-control exodus of half a million Palestinians from Gaza through a broken border fence and its exploitation as cover for Islamist terrorists to drive into new turf. Egyptian forces have in the last 24 hours, apprehended 30 armed Palestinians on their way to the Suez Canal.
Read debkafile's Special Report below on this unfolding crisis.
Abbas declares three days' mourning in Palestinian Authority for PFLP's George Habash, pioneer of airline hijacking<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 29, 2008
The Palestinian for the Liberation of Palestinian, the PLO's second largest group after Fatah, hijacked its first plane, an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv, in 1968. Two years later, it carried out its spectacular three-plane hijack to Jordan. Like Hamas, this Christian left-wing radical, who broke with Yasser Arafat, opposed peace deals with Israel and firmly believed there could be no peace until Israel was destroyed. He died in Amman aged 81.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: Hamas Sinai coup glorified at counter-Annapolis conference in Damascus<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 26, 2008
US and Israeli intelligence sources report that the Hamas coup in breaking down the border between Gaza and Egyptian Sinai was timed for the opening Wednesday, Jan. 23 of the Palestinian National Congress in Damascus. This event was organized by Tehran and Damascus to counter the US-promoted Annapolis conference and discredit Mahmoud Abbas' diplomatic track with Israel under the US aegis.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: As trucks bring Gaza fuel, medicines and food from Israel - Palestinians fire 21 missiles Tuesday at Israeli targets
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 25, 2008
No casualties were reported in Sderot where 10 Qassam missiles exploded or S. Ashkelon which took two hits Tuesday,. Jan. 22. Gaza's power station is working again, powered by Israeli fuel. The UN Security Council meets Tuesday night for a session called by Arab governments to denounce Israel.
Monday night, Barak caved in and gave a "one-time" order to resume the heavy fuel and medicines deliveries to the Gaza Strip after two days' slowdown as a sanction against a hail of up to 40-50 missiles a day.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Egyptian troops give way as more than 350,000 Palestinians surge across Gaza-Sinai crossing. No bar to arms smuggling
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2008
Hamas carried out its threat, reported by debkafile Sunday, to smash its way through the border from Gaza to Egyptian Sinai. Before dawn, Wednesday, Jan. 23, masked men blew up sections of the concrete border wall at the Rafah crossing. Thousands of Palestinians swarmed through as Egyptian border troops, reinforced overnight, fell back.