Ex-Israeli Security Chief Diskin: ‘All the Conditions Are There for an Explosion’

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Yuval Diskin, former director of Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet, speaks of the current clash between Israel and the Palestinians, what must be done to achieve peace and the lack of leadership in the Middle East.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Diskin, following 10 days of airstrikes, the Israeli army launched a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip last week. Why now? And what is the goal of the operation?

Diskin: Israel didn’t have any other choice than to increase the pressure, which explains the deployment of ground troops. All attempts at negotiation have failed thus far. The army is now trying to destroy the tunnels between Israel and the Gaza Strip with a kind of mini-invasion, also so that the government can show that it is doing something. Its voters have been increasingly vehement in demanding an invasion. The army hopes the invasion will finally force Hamas into a cease-fire. It is in equal parts action for the sake of action and aggressive posturing. They are saying: We aren’t operating in residential areas; we are just destroying the tunnel entrances. But that won’t, of course, change much in the disastrous situation. Rockets are stored in residential areas and shot from there as well. Continue reading

‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL

High-ranking U.S. officials said Wednesday that not only are Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant “worse than al Qaeda,” but that the group has a message for the president: “We’re coming for you, Barack Obama.”

The ISIL, under the command of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has taken over large swathes of Iraq and confiscated heavy weaponry previously belonging to Iraqi security forces in the past two months. The terrorist group is now in possession of as many as 52 U.S.-made M198 howitzers, McClatchy news service reported in June. Continue reading

It’s like 1938, says Israeli ambassador to Germany: Outbreaks of anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe

  • Yakov Hadas-Handelsman has expressed fears over attacks on Jews
  • Germany: pro-Palestinians are chanting race-hate slogans against them
  • Recent Israeli military action in Gaza has killed hundreds of Palestinians

Jewish people are being attacked and abused on the streets of Germany as though the country were back in the Nazi era, political and religious leaders warned yesterday.

Murderous slogans dating back to the days of Hitler have been chanted at pro-Palestinian rallies in Germany. Jewish-owned shops were attacked and burned in riots in France at the weekend.

The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said: ‘They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin… as if we were in 1938.’ Continue reading

IDF Commanders: Time for decisive war move after IDF victories in Shejaiya, E. Rafah and Khan Younes

Senior IDF commanders said Wednesday July 23 that the time had come for a decisive war move. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks, they said, but the critical encounter for completing their military mission and bringing the war to a close was still to be fought after three key IDF victories: The battle for Shejaiya grabbed the headlines, but the confrontations in eastern Rafah and eastern Khan Younes in the south were just as important.

The commanders are now urging a large-scale assault on the bunker complex housing Hamas’ top military command and infrastructure. They say it is up to national leaders, i.e., the security cabinet, to determine the military’s next move and the disposition of the forces present on the battlefields of the Gaza Strip.

The tank units could undertake the opening moves for the next, critical stage of the Israeli operation at no more than hours’ notice. Continue reading

Gaza conflict: Is US pressuring Israel with airport ban?

Washington: The US denies that a ban on US airliners flying to Tel Aviv and a stark US travel warning are ploys to push Israel to agree a Gaza truce.

“I would wholly disagree with that argument,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, when asked if the two directives were a political move to put pressure on Israelis.

“We issued travel warnings because one of our top priorities is protecting US citizens overseas,” she told reporters on Tuesday. Continue reading

ISIS gains highlight ‘aggressive’ use of water as weapon of war

 

BEIRUT: Militants from ISIS now control or threaten key facilities on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, generating fears that the Al-Qaeda splinter group could turn off the taps to the Shiite south of Iraq, sparking a massive humanitarian crisis.Last month’s ISIS-led offensive across Iraq saw it overrun cities and battle for oil refineries as the national army melted away, but it has also been waging a war for water, trying to wrest control over rivers, dams and desalination plants in a bid to solidify its territorial gains.

Control of water is seen as key to the viability of the fledgling caliphate declared by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Without water, seasonal droughts cannot be managed, electricity cannot be generated, proper sanitation practices are near impossible and the local economy grinds to a virtual halt.

“When it comes to creating an Islamic state, it is not just about the control of geographic areas in Syria and Iraq. In order to form a viable state, one must control the state’s most vital infrastructure, which in Iraq’s case is water and oil,” said Matthew Machowski, a research fellow at Queen Mary University. Continue reading

Kerry and Ban in truce bid to save Hamas from defeat. Israel holds reply. Cairo won’t amend truce proposal

Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN are pulling one way; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other; and Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are trying to manipulate the others.

Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi: Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire than ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”

Reported to be pushing for a long-term ceasefire, the UN Secretary went on to comment that it was impossible to go back to the situation that caused the conflict. He ruled out the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip as untenable. Continue reading

UAE ‘offered to fund Israel’s Gaza offensive’

DOHA: The UAE knew in advance of Israel’s plans for an offensive in Gaza and even offered to fund the operation provided the militant Palestinian outfit Hamas was eliminated in the process, Israel’s Channel 2 claimed in a recent report, according to local Arabic daily Al Sharq. The daily says in a report published today that Israel’s leading national TV station (Channel 2 in Hebrew) disclosed details of secret parleys between the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in Paris at the end of last month. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia’s New Strategic Game in South Asia

Motivated by old and new security anxieties, and above all, by its sectarian competition with Iran, Saudi Arabia is playing a new game in South Asia. In a dramatic shift from prior decades, warming ties with India have already served Riyadh well by steering New Delhi away from a closer partnership with Tehran. Separately, reenergized links with Pakistan offer Riyadh even more potent ammunition to counter Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions.

Although Western analysts tend to view Saudi policies through a Middle Eastern lens, Riyadh’s South Asia play is a high-stakes gambit with direct consequences for Iranian nuclear developments, the war in Syria, Pakistan’s stability and Indo-Pakistani peace. Fortunately, if Washington is clever and a little lucky, many of Riyadh’s moves with Islamabad and New Delhi can be turned to the U.S. advantage. Continue reading

IDF starts Gaza ground invasion

Netanyahu’s office says purpose of mission is to destroy terror tunnels and seriously harm the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Signalling that the initial phase of the ground attack will be limited, a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Netanyahu directed the IDF to prepare to expand the ground operation. Continue reading

As the Israeli Cabinet delays its decision, Palestinians hammer Tel Aviv with heaviest barrage yet

As the Israeli Cabinet failed to reach a decision about Gaza operation, after a relatively quiet night the Palestinians Wednesday launched their heaviest barrage of rockets in the current conflict to date at Gush Dan. Hamas claimed responsibility for sending M-75s at the region.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s ceasefire ploy Tuesday, July 15, instead of calming the violence in Gaza, unleashed a furious spate of 140 rockets from the Gaza Strip, which drew dozens of Israel air strikes after a six-hour lull in operations. By the end of the eighth day of Operation Defensive Edge, the Israeli security cabinet saw it was saddled with a new dilemma: persuading the Egyptian ruler to punish Hamas to the full extent of his power. This is reported by debkafile’s Middle East and military sources. Continue reading

Stolen uranium compounds not only dirty bomb ingredients within ISIS’ grasp, say experts

As also mentioned here last week.

Plenty of materials for a potential dirty bomb are likely scattered throughout the area of Iraq controlled by ISIS, and pulling off an attack that spreads even a minor amount of radiation could be a huge PR coup for the terror group, experts told FoxNews.com.

Last week, the Iraqi government in Baghdad warned the UN that ISIS operatives had stolen 88 pounds of uranium compounds from Mosul University. Even though many experts said the research materials were not enough to cause widespread harm, spreading fear is even more important to terrorists than a big body count, one terrorism expert said. And with ISIS in control of a huge swath of northern Iraq and parts of Syria that includes research labs, hospitals and industrial sites, ingredients for radiation-spreading bombs are within its grasp.

“Obtaining radiological material from places like universities or hospitals is relatively easy if you have the firepower, a chaotic situation and jihadists willing to sacrifice their health handling it,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for The Clarion Project, a think tank that studies Islamic extremism. “We aren’t talking about producing a nuclear bomb; just combining an explosive with radioactive material.” Continue reading

Unilateral Gaza ceasefire collapses. Israeli air strikes resume after dozens of Palestinian rockets in hours

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli Air Force to resume strikes over Gaza Tuesday afternoon, six hours after a ceasefire proposed by Egypt, accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas, was due to go into effect. During those hours, dozens of Hamas rockets raked town after town and village after village. debkafile: The White House called off US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Cairo visit upon finding Tehran’s hand behind the rockets. Netanyahu goes on the air at 8 p.m. to explain what went wrong.

Straight after the ceasefire was due to go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m., Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli security cabinet had meanwhile endorsed Cairo’s proposal to mediate the conflict with the Palestinian extremists, but warned that if they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.”

In Cairo, Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk took responsibility for eight of the post-“truce” rockets, most of which landed on Ashdod, slightly injuring one woman. Iron Dome intercepted four. Continue reading

First Hamas rocket hits Nahariya. All parts of Israel within range from Gaza on Day Six of IDF operation

Nahariya, frequently blasted by Hizballah Katyushas in the past, can now “boast” it was targeted by Hamas as well.

Sunday, Day Six of Operation Defensive Edge, saw another first: an Israeli ground incursion of the Gaza Strip. An sea commando Shayetet 13 unit landed in the western Gaza Strip to raid a cluster of rocket launchers. It was forced to retreat under heavy fire after four commandos were lightly injured. The target was then hit by the unit’s air cover.

By sundown Sunday, 65 Palestinian rockets had been fired into Israel – 12 shot down by Iron Dome – and more were on the way. The last salvo covered a long swathe from Rishon Lezion, through Tel Aviv and its satellite towns, including the big port of Ashdod and Hadera, as well as Israeli locales bordering on Gaza. Continue reading

David Without a Sling — ‘Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel’

It may be hard for some to believe, given the endless attacks on the Jewish state today, that in the not-too-distant past, Israel was as beloved as it is now widely reviled. More remarkable, it was especially loved on the left, where now it is scorned. The process by which Israel turned from paragon into pariah is the subject of Joshua Muravchik’s well-argued new book Making David into Goliath.

All this changed in the aftermath of the Six Day War. Muravchik documents the wide sympathy in Europe as well as in the United States—including in the media—which Israel enjoyed immediately prior to the war. At that time, it looked as if Israel might be annihilated by its Arab neighbors, who made no secret of their intention to rid the world of the Jewish State.

But when, to general amazement, Israel defeated the Arab armies and captured lands previously held by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, it overnight became the ruler of millions of Arabs. The Arabs would take advantage of this, setting in motion a redefinition of the conflict. No longer was it tiny Israel against a vast Arab world. “Now it was Israel versus the homeless Palestinians. David had become Goliath,” Muravchik states. Continue reading