DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 24, 2002
Israel's security cabinet decision Sunday, February 24, to slightly ease Yasser Arafat's conditions of confinement in Ramallah was accompanied by a pullback of the tanks besieging his headquarters for nearly three months. But to leave thisWest Bank hub town - he wants to attend the Arab League summit in Beirut on March 28 - he will have to ask Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon for permission.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 22, 2002
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, needed only one week to reconsider and take back the deal he floated before New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, namely normal relations between the Arab world and Israel in return for its withdrawal to pre-1967 frontiers. From the first, debkafile discounted the motive behind the plan, judging it was aired more with an eye to Riyadh's rocky relations with Washington than the Israel-Palestinian impasse. Abdullah unsurprisingly killed the idea Thursday, February 21, announcing he would not bring it before the Arab summit.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 21, 2002
Israel will create buffer zones buttressed by physical barriers to bring about "security separation" between Israel and Palestinian territory. Demarcation work will begin at once. This was the main message prime minister Ariel Sharon delivered in a rare broadcast address to the nation Thursday night, February 21.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 20, 2002
Ariel Sharon may not realize how fast Yasser Arafat is advancing on his goal of defeating yet another Israeli prime minister, exactly five years after a Palestinian bus-bombing campaign and strike against Tel Aviv's DizengoffCenter forced Shimon Peres to throw in the towel after only a year as prime minister.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2002
Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon brushed aside the widespread criticism of his handling of Palestinian terror as politically motivated, when he addressed a Likud party faction meeting Monday, February 17. He declared brusquely that he doesn't need experts to advise him on how to combat terror.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 17, 2002
Israel's inner security cabinet meeting Sunday afternoon, February 17, faced the bald option between going to war proper against Arafat and his Palestinian Authority or hold off again and live with a savagely spiraling casualty toll - 14 Israelis dead in the last two weeks.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 12, 2002
Israel's policy-makers and military tacticians both came badly out of the first round of Palestinian rocket warfare. Notwithstanding the generals' claim that the armed forces were ready for this acute upturn in Palestinian violence, their deployment has been slow and unwieldy in the face of the new threat.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 10, 2002
debkafile's political and military analysts note that Yasser Arafat has brought the full weight of his terror campaign to bear on Israel's cities and population centers; most of the Intifada toll has been borne by civilians. During Sharon's five-day absence in the United States, seven Israelis died at the hands of terrorists, six women and none on the battlefield.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 8, 2002
Egyptian foreign minister Ali Maher said Monday night, January 7, that the "conflicting reports coming from Israel" on the Karine-A seizure arouse increasing doubts. In particular, he questioned Israel's assertion that the ship's course was set for the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip via the Suez Canal. Maher repeated debkafile's earlier argument that this made no sense, considering that Egyptian security would have detected any arms cargo sailing up the Canal. Earlier, he condemned the whole episode as an Israeli fabrication.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 7, 2002
Exactly 24 hours after Gen. Suleiman left - and one hour before Sharon boarded the plane for Washington - Arafat gave the signal for the first of a deadly series of terror strikes against Israeli civilians.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 5, 2002
In his briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee in Jerusalem, Mofaz stated that the Palestinians' hostile intentions remained unchanged. As for Iran, he said he did not see that country attacking Israel tomorrow, but its instigation, guidance and arming of anti-Israel terrorists must be taken in conjunction with its acclaimed ambition to wipe Israel off the map. The ayatollahs must not be allowed to attain a foothold in Palestinian areas. Asked if Israel was read for an Iraqi reprisal for an American offensive against Baghdad, Mofaz reported the country prepared its self-defense "and other" capabilities.
American War on Terror Scoops up Campaign against Arafat; Next Stage - to Cut Him off from Fresh Fighting Strength and Weapons
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 4, 2002
The next stage of the US-Israeli strategy for containing Palestinian terrorism will cut him off from the wherewithal for building up, replenishing and arming his militias and terror groups. In the Oval Office next Wednesday, Sharon and Bush will get down to the third stage.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 3, 2002
a senior official Palestinian Authority official, talking to debkafilein Ramallah Saturday night, February 2, registered some changing Palestinian perceptions on certain issues: Ariel Sharon: We now understand that our campaign to unseat Ariel Sharon, which worked against at least two of his predecessors, is a non-starter for the time being. We accept that he takes all the policy decisions and that he is the Bush team's single preferred opposite number in the US-Israeli working relationship. This is what brought Abu Mazen (Arafat's unofficial deputy Mahmoud Abbas), Mohammed Rashid (his top financial adviser) and Abu Ala (the Palestinian legislation Speaker, Ahmed Qorei) to call on Sharon at his Jerusalem home (last Wednesday, January 3).
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 30, 2002
The first woman suicide bomber was identified Wednesday, January 30, as a Palestinian called Wafa Idris, 28, divorcee, who lived in the Al Amri refugee camp near Ramallah on the West Bank and worked as a volunteer worker with the Red Crescent. An arm of Yasser Arafat's Fatah, the Al Aqsa Brigades, now claims to have sent her to blow herself up on a busy thoroughfare in central Jerusalem last Sunday, June 27, killing one Israeli and injuring 160.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 29, 2002
Mubarak's policy switch is the second major Middle East upheaval to be set off by George W. Bush's war on terror. It comes in response to upheaval number one, the coming together of Riyadh, Tehran, Baghdad and Gaza. It is also a personal triumph for President Bush, pulled off hours before his annual state of the union address to the two houses of Congress.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 27, 2002
Noon Sunday, January 27, after Yasser Arafat declared publicly that "one million martyrs are on their way to Jerusalem", the first woman suicide bomber detonated a massively powerful bomb-belt in the middle of the road on Jerusalem's busy Jaffa Street. The blast went up at the same place that a Palestinian gunman killed two women and wounded 49 five days earlier.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 26, 2002
debkafile 's Washington sources report that the White House is holding back till next week the punitive actions against Yasser Arafat decided on at a top-level presidential forum convened by US president George W. Bush on Friday, January 25.
Called to the White House policy review on the Palestinian question were secretary of state Colin Powell, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Bush called his advisers to decide not only how to deal with Yasser Arafat, but also how to fit American punitive moves against him into the broader US Middle East-Gulf policy revision currently underway.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 23, 2002
debkafile's military sources report that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has ordered his 20,000-man police force to take to the war field - a drastic step that moves his confrontation with Israel into the realm of full-scale belligerence. Militarizing his police force is more than just another blatant violation of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, which established the Palestinian Authority and allowed it to establish a police force confined to civilian duties; it is their death blow.