DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 17, 2002
On January 8, 1998, 33 months before the September 11 disasters, Islamic fundamentalist Ramzi Yousuf was sentenced by a Manhattan court to 240 years solitary confinement, a $4.5 m fine and $250 m in restitution for perpetrating the first terrorist attack on New York's WorldTradeCenter in February 1993.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 16, 2002
However insistent Palestinian calls on their leaders to overhaul their ruling system may be, no single group dares suggest that Yasser Arafat be "reformed" out of his job as Palestinian Number One. He is therefore secure in the knowledge that the only reforms in his governing regime will be orchestrated by himself - or not at all.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 15, 2002
The deal that turned Yasser Arafat loose from his besieged and battered Ramallah compound on May 1 entailed his surrendering six Palestinian terrorists and killers wanted by Israel, to be imprisoned in Jericho under American-Anglo custody.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 13, 2002
Two events on Friday, April 12, reshaped US Secretary of State Colin Powell's conception of his peace mission to the Middle East: his tour of Israel's tense northern border region, which he termed "an eye opener"; and the suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem that blasted a bus line - just as his helicopter lifted off from the Knesset helipad only a quarter of a mile away, killing six Sabbath Eve market shoppers and injuring 89.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 10, 2002
Friday, May 10, was a dark day for the thousands of Israeli bereaved by Palestinian terror. The details of the deal to release 123 Palestinians granted sanctuary for 38 days in one of the holiest shrines of Christendom, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, slipped out when it was too late.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 7, 2002
Monday, May 6, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the Pentagon. On the same day, John Bolton, US undersecretary of state, disarmament expert and the closest official in that department to the White House, accused Libya,Syria and Cuba of pursuing weapons of mass destruction. The terms of this warning strongly resembled the language Washington uses in reference to Saddam Hussein. Bolton warned all three of American action to ensure they do not supply terrorists with such arms.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 6, 2002
A large number of badly wanted Palestinian gunmen were among the 200 people who dived into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem 35 days ago, just ahead of the incursion of Israeli troops and tanks, in the early days of Israel's largest anti-terror operation against Palestinian West Bank towns. They claimed and received sanctuary in the Christian shrine.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 3, 2002
For the first time, prime minister Ariel Sharon sets off for Washington Saturday night, May 4, completely in the dark about what awaits him in the Oval Office. In all his previous five visits since taking office, the agenda was clearly laid out. This trip, according to debkafile's political sources say, his close advisers have no notion of what he will hear from President George W. Bush.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 1, 2002
The package incorporating Yasser Arafat's freedom from a month under siege in Ramallah, the transfer of six Palestinian assassins and terror chiefs to jail in Anglo-American custody and the lifting of the Israeli blockade of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, has been teetering on the brink of consummation since early Tuesday, April 30. The parties involved in the three-way negotiations, the Vatican, the United States, the UK, Israel and the Palestinians, all explain that loose ends remain to be tied up.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 27, 2002
Saturday morning, April 27, two terrorists burst into the Jewish settlement of Adora, west of Hebron on the West Bank, shooting their way into one home after another. They killed four Israeli civilians, two of them young children, and wounded 13, 7 seriously.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 22, 2002
Israel's month-long offensive to smash Palestinian terrorists strongholds in the West Bank has had a side effect worth noting: some ordinary Palestinians are no longer afraid to speak out and admit their distress - in front of television cameras.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 20, 2002
According to debkafile's Washington sources, the Bush team is drafting new plans for Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. Its basic assumption is that, as long as Arafat remains acknowledged leader of the Palestinian people, President Bush's oft-repeated vision of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel is impracticable.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 20, 2002
By any military standards, the large-scale offensiveIsrael launched on March 29 against seven Palestinian cities and their satellite villages and camps, is a victory and a resounding Palestinian defeat.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 17, 2002
That US Secretary of State Colin Powell wound up his 10-day ceasefire mission in the Middle East without once mentioning its object is a measure of its failure. Asked by a reporter at his final news briefing in Jerusalem Wednesday, April 17, what happened to the ceasefire, he said the word was not relevant.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 15, 2002
Israel's triumphant capture of Marwan Barghouti, 41, the Secretary General of the West Bank's Fatah-Tanzim and the most vocal Palestinian leader, gave a strong impetus to the Sharon government's campaign to delegitimize and replace Yasser Arafat.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 12, 2002
Israeli security foiled a Palestinian terrorist attempt to hit the motorcade driving US secretary of state Colin Powellfrom BenGurionAirport to Jerusalem Thursday night, April 12, shortly after he landed. The Secretary was accompanied by Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and heads of the US embassy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 11, 2002
The Lebanese Hizballah's Hassan Nasrallah counted on the shock effect of his surprise offer on April 11 - to negotiate the return of the Israeli Elhanan Tannenboim abducted in October 2000 - to manipulate a number of parties round to dealing with him directly.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2002
The battle raging in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, the most savage and costly in life waged thus far in the counter-terror offensive Israel launched on March 29, will also determine its outcome. It will also decide if Yasser Arafat is doomed to stay locked in his two rooms in Ramallah.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 7, 2002
In the coming week, the protagonists in the current Middle East crisis will race against time to bring matters to a head before US secretary of state Colin Powell arrives on his new mission on behalf of President George W. Bush. The Israelis, the Palestinians, Syria, Iraq, Iran and the Hizballah, will all try to establish their mastery of the situation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 4, 2002
Four men are now in Israel's sights. Two - Yasser Arafat and Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi - are under siege in Ramallah.
The other two - Fatah-Tanzim militia chief Marwan Barghouti and Rashid Abu Shbak, deputy to Gaza preventative security chief Mohammed Dahlan - are running for their lives with Israeli intelligence services on their heels.