A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending Aug. 7, 2014

August 1, 2014 Briefs

  • US and UN: Israel and Hamas agree on a 72-hour truce from Friday, talks in Cairo
    The 72-hour hour unconditional, humanitarian ceasefire announced by the US and UN, was scheduled to begin at 8 pm local time Friday and negotiations to go forward on a more durable truce.
  • Hamas in gross violations of truce
    Two soldiers were killed in a Hamas suicide attack 90 minutes into an agreed 72-hour ceasefire on an IDF tunnel team in Rafah while scores of rockets and mortar rounds continued to be fired into Israel.
  • Hamas claims “Israeli officer taken prisoner”in Rafah
    Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk claimed in Cairo that “an Israeli officer was taken prisoner.” Israel informed the UN that the ceasefire has ended and Cairo told Palestinian envoys not to come for talks.
    Five Israeli soldiers killed by mortar fire Thursday night
    Palestinian shells struck a group of Armored Corps soldiers as they gathered Thursday night at the Eshkol staging post.

Israel troop withdrawal from Gaza under slogan: “No accommodation only deterrence” bodes a war of attrition

1 Aug. As the first Israel troops pulled out of Gaza Saturday night, Aug. 2, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged that Operation Defense Edge would continue until security and calm are restored. But in his televised news conference, he also signaled a switch to a unilateral policy and a decision to redeploy the bulk of Israel’s ground troops outside the Gaza Strip in offensive formation – even before achieving all its goals.

Hamas denies knowledge of captive officer’s whereabouts

2 Aug. Hamas’ military wing claimed Saturday, Aug. 2, to have “lost contact with the abductors of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.” It later turned out that he was fatally injured. And, so, three IDF officers died in the same Rafah tunnel attack in violation of a ceasefire.

August 3, 2014 Briefs

  • Hof Ashkelon, Netiv Haasara, Zikkim residents run for shelter
    Warning of a “security incident” in their neighborhood Sunday alerted people living in the Ashkielon coast district, Netiv Haasara north of the Gaza Strip. A “security incident” is the IDF spokesman’s usual reference to a suspected infiltration of terrorists – often through a secret tunnel.
  • US sends low-ranking envoy to Cairo for truce talks on Gaza
    The US is represented at the truce talks opening in Cairo Sunday by Frank Lowenstein, who served as deputy to Martin Indyk, special envoy to the recent failed Middle East peace talks. The Obama administration has lowered its expectations of the Egyptian initiative reaching any substantial outcome – a position coordinated with Israel and Egypt.

August 4, 2014 Briefs

  • Israel accepts Egyptian 72-hour Gaza truce proposal from Tuesday 8 a.m.
    Israel and Hamas Monday night accepted the Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire starting Tuesday, and agreed to send envoys to Cairo for indirect talks with Israel. The Egyptians plan to use them to work out a durable cessation of hostilities.
  • .Lebanese army engages Islamists who seized border town
    The Lebanese army artillery has been pounding areas around Arsal on the Syrian border for three days in a bid to expel Islamists who invaded Lebanese territory in force for the first time since the Syrian war erupted.
  • FM Lieberman proposes UN-mandated international rule for Gaza
    Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that the best solution for the Gaza Strip was an international mandated rule under the United Nations. The worst would be to end Israel’s Defensive Edge counter-terror operation with limbo.

Two terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. An Israeli was killed and a soldier injured. Security forces beefed up in capital

4 Aug. In the space of a few hours, two Palestinian terrorist attacks occurred in Jerusalem, both in areas close to Arab districts. In the second, Monday afternoon, Aug. 4, a motorcyclist shot an Israeli soldier near Mt. Scopus, injuring him seriously. He got away.
Three hours earlier, a 19-year old Palestinian rammed a heavy excavator into a bus, tipping it over on its side on the main road linking west and east Jerusalem. The bus was empty. But an Israeli man of 29, father of five, was crushed to death on the sidewalk. Six others were injured, including the bus driver.
A passing police officer shot the excavator driver dead, cutting short a rampage on the busy thoroughfare of Shmuel Hanavi. He was a resident of the Palestinian district of Jabel Muqaber.

IDF carves out security strip amid Gaza pullout

4 Aug. While withdrawing the bulk of its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, the IDF has been quietly carving out a buffer security strip just inside the Gaza border. It is designed to be controlled from the outside by special forces and armored units on round-the-clock alert and equipped with a battery of firing posts, sensors and drones.

August 5, 2014 Briefs

  • Israel’s envoys to Gaza talks arrive in Cairo
    The Israel delegation to the truce talks under Egyptian aegis arrived in Cairo Tuesday. It consists of the Prime Minister’s special adviser Yitzhak Molcho, the Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen and the Defense Ministry’s Policy Coordinator Amos Gilead. Experts will be attached as needed.
  • Afghanistan soldier shoots dead a US major general
    An Afghan soldier opened fire Tuesday on NATO troops at the Camp Qargha base west of Kabul, killing a US major general and wounding 15 NATO servicemen, including a German brigadier and American troops. The shooter was shot dead. The American general was the highest ranking US officer to be killed in the nearly 13-year Afghan war.
  • Second Temple dwellings, bronze coins found near Jerusalem
    Archeologists have discovered the remains of an unknown Second Temple Era community during excavations for expanding the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. A clay bowl found in one of the houses contained a rare hoard of 114 bronze coins stamped with the date of the fourth year of the Great Revolt led by Bar Cochba against Roman occupation – 69/70 CE – which ended in the Temple’s destruction on the Ninth Day of Av 2000 years ago. The hoard was apparently cached months before the destruction in the hope its owner would return and recover it when the danger passed. Each coin is stamped with a chalice and the words “Geulat Zion” – the Redemption of Zion.
  • Gaza border citizens protest opposite Knesset
    A group of Gaza border citizens Tuesday set up tents opposite the Knesset in protest against the ceasefire. Organizers said: “IDF has retreated, a long ceasefire has gone into effect and we are again abandoned with no commitments for quiet and security. Our protest starts this minute!” debkafile was the first and only publication to uncover the refugee problem resulting from the Gaza operation.
  • The last Israeli soldier leaves Gaza
    The IDF spokesman reported Tuesday, as the three-day ceasefire went into effect that the last Israeli soldier has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip after a month-long counter-terror operation, during which 64 soldiers were killed in action. More than a hundred remain in hospital. He reported that all 32 tunnels discovered were disabled, 4,800 enemy targets hit and hundreds of terrorists killed.
  • Egypt to enlarge Suez Canal and its revenues
    Cairo has launched a major enterprise costing $4 billion to dig a new 72-km canal alongside the Suez Canal to double its capacity to take shipping traffic and reduce the wait for passage from 11 to three hours.
  • British Muslim Dep FM resigns over war support for Israel
    Baroness Sayedda Warsi stepped down Tuesday as Deputy Foreign Secretary in protest over British government support of Israel in the Gaza War. The baroness is of Pakistani descent.
  • Hamas unleashes broad rocket barrage 5 minutes before ceasefire
    Minutes before the agreed 72-hour truce was to go into effect Tuesday at 8 a.m., Hamas fired 30 rockets at Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod, Kiryat Gath, Maale Adummim, Efrat, Greater Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and western Negev. Iron Dome intercepted six. Fragments fell in southern Jerusalem, although no siren sounded. A rocket also hit a Palestinian building in Beit Sahur between Bethlehem and Hebron. Another exploded and caused damage in one of the Gush Etzion settlements. Hamas fired a total of 3,300 rockets during the month-long Israeli counter-terror operation.
  • Israel accepts Egyptian 72-hour Gaza truce proposal
    Israel Monday night accepted the Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, and will now send envoys to Cairo to join talks. A Hamas delegation has also approved the ceasefire and agreed to hold indirect talks with Israel.

Israel-Hamas talks to open in Cairo after 72-hour ceasefire. Netanyahu faces credibility gap at home

5 Aug. Israel and Hamas were due to start a 72-hour Gaza ceasefire Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 8 a.m., followed by talks under Egyptian aegis for a long-term cessation of hostilities. debkafile: Israel’s consent flew in the face of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s solemn pledge 48 hours earlier to continue Operation Defensive Edge for as long as necessary and have no truck with Hamas. “No accommodation, only deterrence” was the motto of Aug. 2. This credibility gap generates Israel’s first ever major internal refugee problem with ghost communities along the Gaza border.

August 6, 2014 Briefs

  • Homeland Command lifts all security restrictions
    On second day of 72-hour ceasefire the Homeland Command Wednesday lifted restrictions on all parts of the population against terrorist attacks and rockets after a month of tight security measures. Schools and summer camps were restored to normal activity and celebrations and functions may take place.
  • Israel accepts extension of the 72-hour Gaza truce
    The Israeli delegation to the Cairo talks agreed Wednesday night to extending the three-day Gaza truce by another 72 hours. Hamas refused.
  • Dozens dead from drone attack on IS-held Mosul
    The Islamists and local Sunnis who overran the Iraqi town of Mosul are believed to have suffered up to 70 deaths from an Iraqi drone attack. A Kurdish Peshmerga commander warned that 50,000 Yazidis who fled to the mountains when their town of Sinjar was invaded are stranded without food or water.
  • Kerry calls for broad talks, Hamas behavior “unbelievable shocking”
    US Secretary of State John Kerry told the BBC Wednesday that Israel and the Palestinians must take advantage of the Gaza truce, which was holding for its second day, for broader negotiations. He said the US stands “squarely behind Israel’s right to defend itself, period” against rocket attacks and tunnels. He said Hamas, which controls Gaza, had "behaved in an unbelievably shocking manner, engaging in this activity and, yes, there has been horrible collateral damage as a result." While supporting open crossings for food and reconstruction, Kerry stressed that the lifting of Israel’s blockade must come "with greater Hamas responsibility towards Israel, which means giving up rockets and demilitarization".

Israel demands ban on all but light weapons in Gaza

6 Aug. debkafile reports exclusively on the terms Israel handed in to the Cairo talks Wednesday Aug. 6 for a durable peace on the Gaza Strip. In the document Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen put before the Egyptian intermediaries, the first key condition is based on the Oslo 2 Accords, which restricted Palestinian brigades in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria to bearing light firearms. The second condition would grant the Israeli military the freedom of action to strike a tunnel system designed for terrorist attacks and demolish plants manufacturing missiles.

Al Qaeda, Iran note Gaza war’s indecisive outcome

6 Aug. As Israeli envoys arrived in Cairo Tuesday, Aug. 6, on the first day of a 72-hour Gaza ceasefire, government spokesmen went to great lengths to convince the public that the fighting was over and the enemy seriously degraded. debkafile: But Hamas though badly hit was not vanquished, its command level survived and the core of a Palestinian army has emerged. Al Qaeda, from its new battle arena in Lebanon, and Iran, too, drew their own conclusions from the way the IDF was held back from bringing its successful operation to victory.

August 7, 2014 Briefs

  • Impasse in Israel-Hamas Cairo talks amid ceasefire concern
    The Cairo talks deadlocked Thursday after Hamas and Jihad Islami flatly rejected all the proposals brought by Israel and Egypt. They also refused to discuss extending the 72-hour ceasefire which expires Friday, Aug. 8, at 8 a.m. unless Israel and Egypt give ground on their terms. The mood in Jerusalem has changed from the optimistic judgment that the war is over to a decision to take the threatened resumption of Palestinian attacks with all seriousness.
  • IDF releases 24,000 reservists called up for Gaza war
    After evacuating ground troops from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, the IDF has sent home 24,000 of the 84,000 reservists mobilized for service in the war operation.
  • Al Qaeda-Iraq captures the Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest
    The IS has captured the hydroelectric dam on the Tigris River, which provides northern Iraq with power and is the largest in Iraq. Its failure could send a 65-foot wave across large areas of Iraq including a flood of one meter deep in Baghdad. Also Thursday, Islamists overran 14 towns with Christian majorities in northern Iraq, putting tens of thousands to flight with an ultimatum: Convert to Islam or die. Church leaders have appealed for immediate help.
  • Obama: Gaza must not be a launching pad for attacks on Israel
    "I have no sympathy for Hamas,” said US President Barack Obama Thursday. “I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza. And the question then becomes, can we find a formula in which Israel has greater assurance that Gaza will not be a launching pad for further attacks."

 

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