DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 26, 2009
Saturday, Jan. 10, Day 15 of Israel's Gaza Strip offensive against Hamas, top Palestinian leaders gathered in Cairo for ceasefire talks with Egyptian officials.
debkafile's military sources report that Jemal Abu Hashem, who rarely appears on public, Salah Bardaweel, leader of Hamas parliament faction, and Heiman Ta'a, member of the military wing's command, were allowed to exit Gaza Friday after signaling their willingness for the first time to discuss an unconditional ceasefire.
The Hamas delegates were preparing for their talks on Egypt's ceasefire proposals to begin Sunday with intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman, when their Damascus leader, Khaled Meshaal, dropped his bombshell.
Speaking over Damascus TV, he declared Hamas must fight on until Israel ends its military offensive, withdraws from the Gaza Strip and opened the enclave's crossings. Egypt too must open the Rafah gate. Hamas would never accept any restrictions on its armament - a hint at Israel-Egyptian plans to block the Philadelphi route - and would treat international monitors as an "occupation" force.
debkafile's sources report that the Hamas leader's emotional tirade raised suspicions in Jerusalem that he may have obtained pledges from Tehran and Hizballah to stage a last-ditch operation to save Hamas from collapse. They also noted the widening rift between Hamas-Damascus and Hamas-Gaza, which is paying dearly for Palestinian "resistance."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 17, 2009
Israel returned to targeted air strikes against Hamas Friday, Feb. 13 when reports from Cairo of an imminent long-term ceasefire proved to be red herrings despite major Israeli concessions, including low-powered responses to fresh Hamas attacks.
More about the breakdown of the Egyptian-mediated Gaza ceasefire in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2009
The aspiring prime minister, foreign minister Tzipi Livni, broke new ground when she voiced her views on the Middle East dispute this week. She challenged US and European diplomacy's conventional wisdom of gearing peace to a two-state solution. Palestinian leader Ahmed Quraia followed her which disclosures of what he claimed to be Israel's last peace offer - and rejecting it out of hand.
Tzipi Livni used an apparent paradox to bury the two-state solution. In a speech she gave to high school pupils Thursday, Dec. 11, she said: "The place for Israeli Arabs to exercise their national aspirations is a future Palestinian state - not Israel, which is the Jewish national home." Livni's next comment: "No single Palestinian refugee will be admitted to Israel" was a roundabout message in the same vein to the Israeli Arab minority (a steady one-fifth of the population).
She clarified this later by saying that while Israeli Arabs would not be forced to leave or lose their civil rights, "those who wished to realize their national aspirations should look elsewhere," namely to a Palestinian state when it rises.
But what Palestine was she talking about?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 16, 2008
debkafile's counter-terror sources report that two residents of the Jerusalem village of Issawiya, Iyad Aabid, 20, and Abdullah Aabid, 21, were indicted Sunday, Dec. 14, on charges of plotting a series of terrorist attacks on Israeli Border Guard and army officers on duty in the neighborhood of their village. One plan was to ram a border patrol jeep, use electric shockers to stun the officers and take them hostage.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 15, 2008
The decision not to renew the six-month "truce" which expires on Dec. 19 was taken by Hamas-Gaza and its Damascus politburo, hours after Israel's offer of a renewal. debkafile reports the offer ordered by defense minister Ehud Barak aroused angry responses in Israel. At the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, ministers reproved Barak for making the offer without waiting for a government decision in the face of frequent Palestinian violations.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 21, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that Israeli government leaders have misread the motives behind Hamas'two-week missile-rocket-mortar assault on Israel as jockeying for better terms when the six-month truce comes up for renewal next month. Their decision to mute Israel's military response to the ongoing violence stems from their misplaced expectation that the attacks will stop once the truce is in the bag.
Israeli intelligence circles challenge this perception.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2008
Thursday night, Nov. 13, the Palestinians fired five missiles, including two Grads, against Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and Or Haner. Suspense is building up around the Gaza Strip amid fears of a major Palestinian escalation.
debkafile's military and intelligence sources report that the foundering of the Gaza truce is the direct outcome of the Israeli government's passive military stance and over-reliance on Egypt to pull its Palestinian chestnuts out of the fire.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2008
The first salvo of seven Qassam missiles damaged buildings in the Eshkol farm district Monday, Nov. 17, followed by two in the evening that were aimed at Sderot. There were no casualties. Still, Israeli allowed 33 truckloads of supplies into Gaza following heavy international pressure and UNWRA renewed food supplies to the population. But fuel shipments are held up for as long as the Palestinians shoot.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 19, 2008
On one day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, there were 30 Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and border police officers on the West Bank, leaving four injured, including two policemen and an army platoon commander, debkafile's military sources report. Since last month, Israel units have been prohibited by the prime minister and defense minister from posting snipers to defend them against Palestinian firebomb ambuscades.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 18, 2008
Sumiya Abu Ghanem, 21, a nursery school teaching aide in the Israeli town of Ramle, was charged before the Petach Tikva district court Monday. She was detained a month ago as a result of a joint Border Police-Shin Bet operation. The charges against Abu Ghanem included conspiring to aid the Palestinian Fatah terrorist group in Gaza in a scheme to kidnap an Israeli. She was also asked to help secrete a Palestinian suicide killer into a crowded place in an Israeli town.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 16, 2008
The 44 Grad rockets, Qassam missiles and mortar rounds which blasted Israel from Gaza Wednesday, Nov. 5, were fired from houses close to the border fence which Hamas had turned into fortified firing positions.
debkafile's counter-terror sources disclose that an anti-tank missile strike against an IDF patrol south of the Kissufim Gaza crossing last Friday was carried out by al Qaeda.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 10, 2008
The Israeli air force knocked out a Palestinian missile launcher primed for attack in northern Gaza Saturday night, Nov. 7-8. The Palestinians responded with more missile fire at Ashkelon on the 4th consecutive day of their Gaza missile offensive. No one was hurt. During the day an Israeli patrol near Kissufim was targeted by Palestinian anti-tank missiles and returned the fire.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2008
More than 35 missiles have been fired against all the Israeli towns and villages within range of Gaza since early Wednesday, Nov. 5. Two upgraded Qassam missiles hit Ashkelon's main street and industrial zone. Three shock victims were hospitalized.
The Palestinian barrage followed a battle Tuesday night when an Israeli armored force crossed 250 meters deep into the Gaza Strip to demolish a Hamas tunnel ready for immediate activation as a terror-cum-kidnap device. Six Israeli soldiers were wounded.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 22, 2008
Israeli towns and villages encircling the Gaza Strip went on on high missile alert from Saturday night, Oct. 18 after incoming intelligence revealed that the Palestinian Hamas' military arm and Jihad Islami were preparing to shatter the three-month old ceasefire.
debkafile's military sources report that Hamas went on the warpath after a major difference flared with Egypt.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 21, 2008
An IDF military unit blew up the first suspected bomb tunnel built by Palestinians to be discovered on the West Bank Tuesday, Oct. 14. It was located west of Hebron near an Israeli military position overlooking the Trans-Judean highway. The Hamas has used bomb tunnels frequently with deadly effect against Israeli forces in and around the Gaza Strip.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 18, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that Israel military scouts uncovered a high-powered anti-tank IED trap near Kissufim on the Israeli side of the Gaza border Sunday, Oct. 12. It was composed of four large interlinked devices rigged to blow up in sequence. A fifth bomb just inside Gaza was located to detonate when Israeli reinforcements and emergency teams came up to tend to the casualties from the first series of explosions.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 14, 2008
debkafile's Palestinian sources report that the leaders of the Iranian-backed Jihad Islami terrorist group in Gaza have warned they will go back to firing missiles at neighboring Israeli towns and villages unless the ruling Hamas stops persecuting them.
Our military sources report that Israeli forces securing the Gaza border went on missile alert Thursday, Sept 11, when Hamas heavies ignored the threat and continued their crackdown.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 8, 2008
The Cairo effort to broker a ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas proves now to have been no more than a cover-up for the real game afoot: a move brokered by the Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade to mend the feud between Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and the fundamentalist Hamas.
Palestinian peace talks were secretly launched Friday, June 6 in Dakar at the end of the Organization of Islamic Conference summit for the creation of a unity government.
By taking over the Gaza administration, the PA will relieve Hamas of responsibility for wages in the public-sector (for which the Ramallah government turns over cash to Hamas anyway) and supplies of basic commodities - food, fuel and medicine. Hamas' hands will be free to fight Israel with greater energy than ever before and proceed to seize control of the West Bank to create a base for attacking Israel far more dangerous than Gaza.
Once Hamas vacates Gaza's government administration - even if this is just a formality - and PA guards man the border crossings, Israel can no longer sustain its blockade of the territory.
Neither can Israel's military hit back when Hamas and its terrorist allies shoot missiles and mortars against its population.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 4, 2008
The group of 180 was allowed to cross Israel to Ramallah through the Nahal Oz crossing Sunday, Aug. 3, at the request of the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. They included a large group of men admitted to Israeli hospitals with injuries sustained in intense daylong mortar, rocket and machine gun battles between Hamas and the pro-Fatah Hilles clansmen in the Gaza Strip's Shijaiyeh district. At least nine people were killed and more than 100 injured in the fighting, the biggest Palestinian factional clash since Hamas seized control of Gaza a year ago. Among them was the Hilles leader Ahmed Hilles.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 28, 2008
Palestinian security forces rounded up 15 West Bank Hamas activists and associates in Tulkarm Sunday, July 27, including the local mufti. Hamas arrests of the rival Fatah's operatives in the Gaza Strip increased to 200 Sunday after a bomb explosion outside a Gaza beachside cafe killed five senior Hamas operatives and a young girl Friday night