May 13, 2011 Briefs
• Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's former first leader, has heart attack after interrogation and 15-day detention order.
• Jerusalem police Friday detain 40 Palestinian rioters throwing firebombs and rocks, burning Israeli flags in riots marking Nakba Day. Their slogans called to "burn Tel Aviv".
• Tahrir Square rang with thousands calling for new Palestinian war on Israel.
• NATO bombing of Brega kills 11 imams, injures 45 attending clerical meeting in Libyan town. Coalition claims it targeted a pro-Qaddafi command and control post.
• Troops open heavy fire in Homs despite ceasefire promise by Assad's adviser.
• Pakistan's Taliban Friday claims first revenge strike for Osama bin Laden's death.
• The twin bombings killed at least 80 people, injured more than 100 paramilitary police training academy in northern town of Charsadda. Most of the victims were cadets getting on buses for leave. Chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff General Khalid Shameem Wynne cancelled a scheduled visit to the United States.
Muslim contender for Egyptian presidency designed for US approval
13 May. Notwithstanding the official Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's promise not to seek the presidency, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, 60, member of the MB's Shura Council, has announced he would run for president in Egypt's coming election albeit as an "independent," although no one doubts whom he represents.
April 29, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 490 was the first publication to reveal that Fotouh was MB's presidential candidate. Recently discovered by the American media, the contender is depicted as a progressive, moderate Muslim figure whose views on equal rights for women and non-Muslims should lay to rest Western fears of the Muslim Brotherhood as a radical movement.
May 15, 2011 Briefs
• Three Israeli officers, 10 soldiers injured in battles with hundreds of Syrians surging across the border into Golan's Majd al-Shams Sunday. At end of incident, Israel handed Syria bodies of 10 infiltrators.
• Dozens of firebombs lobbed by masked Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem.
• Hamas PM Haniya: It is time to extinguish the Zionist project in Palestine. That task will fall to Palestinian union government.
• Reinforced Jerusalem police arrest 6 Palestinians lobbing firebombs and rocks. Also attacked Hadassah hospital on Mt. Scopus which serves Jewish and Arab populations.
• Netanyahu regrets democratic Israel's founding used by Arab extremists to spread hate and rage.
Terror attack in Tel Aviv: One dead, 17 injured – first Nakba Day victims
15 May. Aviv Morag, 29, from Caesaria was killed and 17 people were injured – two in serious condition – after being run down by an Israeli Arab, 22, from Kafr Qassem in Tel Aviv, Sunday, May 15. His truck swerved left and right along 2 kilometers of busy road in South Tel Aviv. After knocking over a traffic light, the driver jumped out and shouting Allah Akhbar! used the pieces to beat passers-by who overpowered him!
The police arrived later. When apprehended the driver claimed he lost control of his truck after his front wheel punctured. But eye witnesses described him as deliberately chasing his victims and striking 13 vehicles.
In Ramallah, 20,000 Palestinians rallied in the main square opposite the tomb of the late Yasser Arafat under the slogan: "The people want to return to Palestine."
Palestinians, Syrians, Hizballah smash through three Israeli borders
15 May. Israeli forces on high alert for Nakba Day, Sunday, May 15, failed to seal three national borders on the Golan, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip against large-scale incursions. Dozens of Syrians and Hizballah invaders were able to overrun the Israeli Golan village of Majd al Shams and hoist Syrian and Palestinian flags in the main square; Hizballah-sponsored Palestinian demonstrators breached the Lebanese-Israeli border and damaged IDF installations; and hundreds battered the Erez crossing from the Gaza Strip.
More to come from Syria after breach of Israel's Golan border
15 May. On Sunday, May 15, Israel's enemies breached three of its borders – Syrian, Lebanese and Gaza – in an operation that caught its government, army and intelligence napping. Their reaction showed them to be muddled and incapable of an organized, rational tactical response to a multiple security crisis. The blanket directive to exercise "maximum response" was seen as weakness in Tehran, Damascus, Beirut and Ramallah and paves the way for more of the same.
The popular uprisings sweeping through Arab countries showed these anti-Israel forces that massed civilians when wielded as a surprise weapon can achieve more than armies or individual terrorists. Civilian multitudes activated on several synchronized fronts are extremely difficult to withstand.
May 16, 2011 Briefs
• Lavrov invites Muammar Qaddafi to send a delegation to Moscow. This gesture of support for the embattled Libyan ruler is a slap in the face for NATO – especially US, UK and France.
• Israel complains to UN Security Council against Syrian, Lebanese failure to prevent massive incursion of its borders.
• Palestinian leader Abbas declares three-day mourning for those who died smashing through Israel's borders Sunday. "They did not die in vain," he vowed.
• Israeli minister Yaalon: Syrian-Palestinian assault on Israel's borders proves pre-1967 state lines will not satisfy Palestinians.
• Former Northern Front commander Peled: Violations of Israeli sovereignty must be stopped at any price else state will go under. We must find new ways to fight weapon of mob infiltration.
• Pakistani Taliban say they killed Saudi diplomat in Karachi, Pakistan Monday.
• Israel unblocks frozen Palestinian funds, transferred IS.370 million to Ramallah Monday.
Assad tried pro-Palestinian Golan stunt to foil Egypt's Hamas takeover
16 May. Syria's Bashar Assad and Hizballah had more than one objective in bussing thousands of demonstrators to Israel's Golan border Nakba Day, Sun. May 15. One was to show they could easily capture the enclave from Israel and the other, to put a spoke in Egypt's wheel for transferring Hamas' command centers from Damascus to the Gaza Strip.
In the light of this contest, the case for renewing peace talks with the Palestinians, argued interminably between Israel's government and opposition leaders has lost its relevance. For the first time in the 44 years since Egyptian troops abandoned the Gaza Strip in 1967, Cairo took military responsibility for this coastal enclave against the Israeli Defense Forces, a commitment which put Israel's relations with Egypt on a new footing, very much at the expense of its military standing.
May 17, 2011 Briefs
• Negotiations with Israel only after Palestinian state is UN member- Abbas to NYT. Netanyahu repeats Israel will make "painful concessions" for true peace but Palestinians refuse to talk. "We must stop blaming ourselves for lack of peace accord". Nakba Day events proved conflict not on 1967 but on 1948 and on Israel's right to exist, said the prime minister.
• The White House strongly opposes Syrian government's involvement in inciting protests on Golan Heights. While regretting loss of life, spokesman Jay Carney put the onus on Syria, said Jewish state "has the right to prevent unauthorized crossing at its borders".
• President Obama to address the American-Israel lobby conference next week along with PM Netanyahu.
Obama to get tough with Assad. Syrian-Israeli flare-up expected
17 May. debkafile's Washington sources report exclusively that President Barack Obama is ready to stamp down hard on Syrian President Bashar Assad in person for his inhuman crackdown on protest and the massacre of hundreds of dissenters. Obama may announce sanctions against the Syrian president even before his May 19 speech on US relations with Middle East Muslim nations.
Syria has threatened to hit back at Israel.
The administration has also decided to authorize the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to report to the UN Security Council that Syria was building a plutonium reactor for military purposes at Deir A-Zour, which it was bombed by Israeli in September 2007. Damascus has refused to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog in making the site available for inspection. The IAEA is therefore urged to seek the same Security Council sanctions for Syria as those imposed on Iran for its nuclear activities.
May 19, 2011 Briefs
• US Republican leaders hammer Obama for abandoning US most important Mid East ally by calling for peace built around 1967 lines.
• Obama endorses 1967 lines with swaps as basis for Israel-Palestinian peace. This is rejected by Netanyahu before flying to Washington for White House meeting Friday, followed by addresses to US Congress and AIPAC.
• Jerusalem approves 1,500 new homes in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev.
• Three blasts in the Iraqi oil town of Kirkuk kill 27 people, injure 90.
• Osama bin Laden's last audio praised Arab uprisings – the first from al Qaeda.
• Europe to expand sanctions against Iran to 100 firms. Among the banned firms is German-based European-Iranian Trade Bank.
• Post-revolutionary Egypt continues to abuse human rights – Amnesty.
Hunt for Syrian, Hizballah spies who slipped in through Golan
19 May. Army and security services have fanned out across the West Bank in search of between five and eight Syria and Hizballah secret agents believed to have slipped across the Golan border under cover of the May 15 Palestinian mob incursion. debkafile's sources report that Hamas and Hizballah West Bank cell members drove them to their hideouts. Syria plans its next mob border assault for June 5 for which the intruders will be mobilized. Hamas is jumping the gun by staging a mass assault on the Gaza-Israel border fence Friday, May 20.
Netanyahu rejects Obama's demand for a return to 1967 lines
19 May. US President Barack Obama's declaration in his policy speech Thursday, May 19, that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 lines with mutually agreed territorial swaps drew forth a sharp rejection from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Before flying to Washington, he stated: The 1967 lines are indefensible. Israeli security demands an IDF presence on the Jordan River. Israel appreciates the US president's commitment to peace but a Palestinian state cannot rise at the expense of Israel's existence.
In effect, Israel has rejected Obama's new Middle East policy for resolving its dispute with the Palestinians before Netanyahu meets the US president at the White House Friday.
Mutual swaps of land amounted to Israel handing over to the Palestinians large chunks of sovereign territory in return for leaving the settlement blocks in the West Bank. Obama's demands contradict the guarantee the Bush presidency gave Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004 not to force Israel to return to the indefensible borders of 1967.
Obama was also the first US president to demand that Israeli Defense Forces withdraw from the Palestinian state, including the vital Jordan River eastern defensive line, without the security measures Israel required after numerous Arab and Palestinian attacks which are still threatened.
Obama introduced a new concept for potential Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations, from which he admitted "the Palestinians have walked away." The Palestinians state would be "non-militarized," he said – not demilitarized as Israel has demanded but possessed of an army of a size to be negotiated by the parties.