DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 18, 2007
The mouth of the tunnel was discovered 700 meters inside the Gaza border outside Beit Lahiya. It was dug under tomato greenhouses of Netiv Ha'Asara north of Gaza. Israeli intelligence believes the subterranean passage was intended to carry infiltrators under the border for attacks against an Israeli town to the north of Gaza.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Fatah leader in secret talks with Hamas behind Abbas' back<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 12, 2007
debkafile's Middle East sources reveal that Mahmoud Abbas' close adviser, Jibril Rajoub, is holding secret talks with the Gazan Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad. At his meeting with the Israeli prime minister Monday, Abbas planned to demand further gestures of support, such as the release of more Palestinian prisoners, the removal of roadblocks and progress on fundamental issues. Realistically, their positions were too far apart for an agreed agenda.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Olmert greets Rice with further concessions for Abbas despite discovery of Palestinian fraud over Israel amnesty<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 7, 2007
It has come to light, according to our military sources, that the weapons handed in two weeks ago by 168 Fatah-al Aqsa Brigade terrorists in return for immunity from Israel military pursuit were World War I vintage Italian carbines left behind by Turkish troops when they quit the country in 1917 and Mauser rifles from the 1930s. None of the terrorists surrendered their personal side-arms according to their pledge.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Israel taken aback by Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad's insistence that "resistance" is "legitimate" Palestinian right<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 3, 2007
The pro-US Fatah head of the Ramallah government, Salam Fayyad, stated at an Arab League Council meeting in Cairo Monday, July 30: "We are an occupied nation and resistance is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people."
debkafile notes: "Resistance" is the Palestinian euphemism for armed terror including suicide bombing.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: 200 defiant Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades terrorists threaten fresh wave of anti-Israel violence unless they are included in amnesty
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 1, 2007
They are up in arms against the deal struck by prime minister Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas a week ago to waive Israeli military pursuit of 179 wanted al Aqsa Brigades gunmen for three months, against a pledge to renounce terrorism and surrender their side arms. The 200 mutineers have informed Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas and their commanders that as long as they are subjected to IDF pursuit and detentions, they have no reason to hold back on terrorist activity against Israeli forces and civilians on the West Bank.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Abbas convenes PLO Council session Wednesday in ploy to obtain legitimacy for Fatah's West Bank government <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2007
The umbrella Palestinian Liberation Organization brings together most Palestinian parties and factions excluding Hamas for the next stage in the battle for legitimacy between the Fatah government in Ramallah and the Hamas administration in Gaza. The government headed by Salim Fayyad was declared transitional after he failed to obtain parliamentary endorsement last week when a Hamas boycott left the legislature without a quorum for voting. Abbas has therefore summoned heads of overseas Palestinian parties and splinter factions to circumvent the legislature and endorse his caretaker administration. The Olmert government is assisting his effort by allowing blacklisted terrorist leaders to attend.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> reports: Veteran terrorist Damascus-based Naif Hawatmeh waives Israeli permit to travel to West Bank <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 19, 2007
Mahmoud Abbas requested Israeli permits for blacklisted Hawatmeh, Fatah political bureau leader Farouk Kaddoumi and three others radical PLO faction leaders to attend a Council meeting in Ramallah Wednesday to endorse his Fatah government.
In token of his support for the Fatah leader, debkafile's exclusive sources report Ehud Olmert is being flexible - even though their arrival in Ramallah would grant the Damascus-based Palestinian rejectionists their first accepted presence on the West Bank.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 16, 2007
Even in Middle East terms, the turnaround which has produced a new American master plan is amazingly swift. The Bush administration, egged on by the Saudis, believes it has set in motion a complicated process for manipulating Israel into easing its forces out of the West Bank.
This is stipulated by Hamas and Jihad Islami as their condition for halting Qassam missile attacks on Israel. Above all, it will open the way for Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah and the Islamist Hamas to negotiate an end to their feud.
The Israeli government's compliance with this plan, which would ideally also halt Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel, is behind President George W. Bush's Middle East statement Monday, and the Olmert-Abbas Jerusalem meeting midday. The US president sees his two-state vision as feasible only if Fatah-West Bank and Hamas-Gaza can come to terms since neither can form a viable Palestinian state without the other.
It also explains the incoming president Shimon Peres' apparent lapse when he said to AP Sunday, July 15, the day of his swearing-in: "We must get rid of the territories."
Notorious Damascus-based Palestinian terror chief Nayef Hawatmeh asks Israel for permission to enter Ramallah<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 14, 2007
The ageing head of the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian claims he is no longer an active terrorist, but debkafile reports he has sent his adherents to join the pro-Syrian Fatah al-Islam battling the Lebanese army for two months in the northern Nahr al Bared camp.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 13, 2007
The bomber opened fire on soldiers manning the roadblock on Highway 57 between Shavei Shomron and Einav in the northern district of the West Bank. He was killed by return fire. Three explosive devices were found in his vehicle.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Secret Fatah-Hamas peace talks open in Stockholm under Iranian-Saudi aegis
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2007
The rival Palestinian factions began talking in the Swedish capital Sun. July 8, about burying the hatchet. This is revealed exclusively by debkafile's Iranian sources. They are discussing reconstituting their national unity government three weeks after Hamas's coup unseated the Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority government in the Gaza Strip.
If the Stockholm track works, Saudi Arabia and Iran come out on top as Palestinian sponsors and sideline Egypt.
Read more about this unforeseen development in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
Twenty British lawmakers want to engage Hamas after its help in freeing BBC reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 11, 2007
They include MPs from all three parties including Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Their petition said Hamas because of its pivotal role in ending the kidnap should join Palestinian reconciliation efforts. The motion was tabled by the ruling Labor's Richard Burton. Hamas is boycotted by western powers as an extremist terrorist group dedicated to destroying Israel by violence. The Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit whom Hamas-led raiders kidnapped a year ago is still in captivity.
The reporter, who was freed Tuesday night, described his ordeal as a hostage in solitary confinement for 114 days like being "buried alive."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 9, 2007
debkafile's Iran sources reveal that Fatah and Hamas representatives have launched secret talks to patch up their quarrel. Their first session took place in Stockholm Sunday, July 8, under the guiding hands of the Iranian and Saudi ambassadors.
Hamas sent operations chief Imad al Alami from Damascus to face Eugine Makhloof ,the PLO ambassador in Sweden, who is acting on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah.
But before sitting down to the talks, the Hamas official first checked in with Iranian leaders in Tehran to make sure their agendas dovetailed.
With war clouds hanging over the region this summer, said the Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Palestinian unity is the order of the day, essential to the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bloc as a strategic asset in its coming conflict with the US and Israel.
The same advice came from UAE president Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan to visiting Mahmoud Abbas when they met Sunday. The Fatah leader was persuaded to lose no time in mending Palestinian factional fences.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 8, 2007
Last month, Ehud Olmert made a gesture of support for the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah government he installed for the West Bank in Ramallah in opposition to the Hamas government in Gaza: a pledge to release 250 terrorists of Abbas' Fatah party from Israeli jails.
But then, Saturday night, the prime minister tossed back to the Shin Bet the list of Fatah prisoners to be submitted for cabinet approval Sunday, July 8, and demanded a new list. Olmert complained most of the candidates were due for release soon anyway having served out their terms. This fact would belittle his gesture towards Abbas.
debkafile's security sources say Olmert's rejection landed on the desks of Shin Bet chiefs with a nasty thump. They accuse him of causing irreparable damage to the abducted Israeli soldiers' prospects of freedom by raising the exchange ratio to a level which is unsustainable without compromising national security.
A top commander of Fatah's al Aqsa Brigades in Jenin camp, Mohammed Abu Heija, dies in gun battle with Israeli forces<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 4, 2007
It took place during an IDF raid of the terrorist stronghold before dawn Monday, July 2, when the soldiers came under a bomb and small arms fire. The dead terrorist leader was the deputy of the notorious Jenin Fatah chief, Zakariya Zubeidi. An M-16 assault rifle with a telescopic sight was found with Abu Heija's body.
Saturday, six Palestinians killed in two Israeli air strikes in Gaza Saturday.
Palestinians fire mortar salvo at Gaza's Erez crossing Wednesday after planting large explosive device at Kerem Shalom
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 1, 2007
debkafile reports: Frequent mortar and bombing attacks on the Gaza crossings lead Israeli authorities to conclude that Hamas is trying to fabricate a humanitarian crisis for international consumption. The Karni crossing was shut down by Palestinian attacks and then Kerem Shalom. The Sufa terminal which is still functioning is under threat of bombing.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 30, 2007
Explosive devices were hurled at the Israel unit during an ongoing search for wanted terrorists. One soldier was seriously wounded and three, including an officer, suffered moderate injuries.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Hamas was free to cause sensation with audio tape of Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit's voice - but not to release him without al Qaeda's a
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 29, 2007
Shalit's obviously dictated call on the Israeli government to free thousands of Palestinian prisoners was rejected by prime minister Ehud Olmert at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference Monday, June 25.
debkafile's counter-terror sources: The release of the Shalit, Alan Johnston and Ayman Zawihiri tapes within a few hours - the first two issued by Hamas - strongly indicates the timing was coordinated between Hamas and al Qaeda.
Fatah-Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades chiefs defy Mahmoud Abbas' ban on unauthorized persons bearing arms on West Bank<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 29, 2007
Abbas gave the order in default of a pledge he gave Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert at Sharm al-Sheikh Monday, June 25. In return for Israeli immunity from arrest, Abbas promised to collect signed statements renouncing terrorism from Fatah-al Aqsa members, have them turn in their weapons to the Palestinian Authority forces for registration and join up with Palestinian security forces.
Abbas explained he needed the Brigades fighters, many of whom are wanted for orchestrating suicide attacks against Israel in the last decade, to combat Hamas on the West Bank.
Israeli PM offers to release 250 Fatah prisoners as goodwill gesture to Mahmoud Abbas at Sharm el-Sheik conference with three Arab rulers Monday <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2007
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who hosted the conference Monday, June 25, pledged to work for the resumption of inter-factional dialogue between Fatah and Hamas.
debkafile notes: This was not what Ehud Olmert was aiming for. His gesture to Mahmoud Abbas favoring Fatah and rejecting a prisoner deal with Hamas indicated his disapproval of a reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions.