Recent actions taken by the heads of the army, Mossad and the internal security service (Shin Bet) reveal the Israeli security establishment's unsupervised power, and the way it directs that power at the country’s own citizens and elected officials. These are the main details which have been made public in the affair of Ben Zygier, also known as 'Prisoner X': Zygier was probably recruited by the Mossad in the years following his immigration to Israel; the Australian secret service grew suspicious of Zygier after he changed his name and took out new passports four different times; according to the latest…Read More... | 14 Comments
As yet another military campaign ends, the IDF turns out to be, as usual, the weakest link in the chain. Operation Cast Ballot, or as it is formally known, "Pillar of Defense," has come to an end. Childish to the end, the Palestinians and Israelis managed to miss a ceasefire on Tuesday, as they quarreled over who would fire the last shell. The practice of announcing a ceasefire in advance, so as to make certain that all troops know of it in time and observe it, has been perverted into a competition of who can fire more in less time.…Read More... | 10 Comments
Ex-Shin Bet chief launches the latest attack on Netanyahu and Barak's character, warning that they can't be trusted to deal with Iran. What is it about these two? This is just about unprecedented in Israeli history, these public attacks on the reliability of the prime minister and defense minister by the security chiefs who served under them. On Friday, Yuval Diskin, who headed the Shin Bet from 2005 until last May, joined the club by describing Netanyahu and Barak as two super-rich "messianics" who are not to be trusted with such a fateful challenge as that of Iran. Last year, Diskin and ex-IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi were named by ex-Mossad director Meir Dagan as having been…Read More... | 17 Comments
Barak/Netanyahu - they are "one hand" - are presenting an Israeli attack as an inevitability. It seems the die has been cast - Netanyahu and Barak have decided to bomb Iran in a matter of months, as Ronen Bergman concluded in the New York Times Magazine - and now it's time to close ranks around the decision. This is my impression from the continual news stories about Israel's plans for Iran over the last couple of days. The clearest sign came from former IDF chief Gabi Ashekenazi, who apparently defected from Meir Dagan's antiwar camp. "When the moment comes, I don't know if we won't be alone, and for this reason Israel…Read More... | 13 Comments
The lack of national consensus makes an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities unlikely, yet the escalating threats could create a dangerous dynamic in the longer run ● Public discourse is lacking a serious debate on the consequences of the attack After months and years in which it has been kept in back rooms or limited to hints and remarks the true meaning of which was understood only by a few people, the Iran debate is suddenly so public that at times it's hard to make any sense of it. Never has the possibility of a war – a…Read More... | 5 Comments
Former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, has called this week for the Israeli leadership to accept the Arab peace initiative. He has also ruled out an attack on Iran. According to almost every news source in Israel—from centrist Yedioth to Haaretz—Former head of Mossad coordinated his messages with former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazy and former head of Shabak, Yuval Diskin. All three are concerned from Netanyahu's poor judgment. It is important to note that Dagan is (or was?) a member of the Israeli right – his first dip in politics was as a leader of a public movement objecting…Read More... | 6 Comments
Mossad head dismisses thoughts of a military strike on Tehran's nuclear facility as "the most stupid idea I ever heard" and even Defense Minister Barak sounds less confrontational than ever Last summer, American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg published a cover piece in the Atlantic which claimed that Israel all but made up its mind to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities if Tehran would not bring its nuclear program to an end. Goldberg also hinted that since such an attack is almost inevitable, it might be better if the US initiates it, due to its superior air power: …What is more likely,…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has summoned Haaretz journalist Uri Blau to a formal hearing – the last procedural step before prosecuting Blau in a criminal court. The 7th eye website reports [Hebrew] that the hearing will take place towards the end of the month. Last March, The Tel Aviv Office for the General Prosecution announced that it was considering prosecuting Blau for unauthorized possession of classified information. Following the procedures against Blau, dozens of Israeli journalists have signed a petition, demanding not to put Haartez's reporter on trail (my translation from Hebrew). We - journalists and media people who…Read More... | 1 Comment
A plea bargain was reached in the case of Anat Kamm, the former soldier who leaked documents showing IDF senior commanders allegedly approved illegal assassinations of Palestinian militants The Israeli media is reporting today that the general prosecution has reached a plea bargain with the attorneys of Anat Kamm. Kamm, 23, was charged with illegally obtaining and leaking 2,000 classified military documents to Haaretz's reporter Uri Blau. Two of the documents lead to a story in which it was revealed that senior Israeli generals, including chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and incoming chief of staff Yair Naveh, knowingly violated Supreme…Read More... | 2 Comments
A war between Israel and its neighbors could be triggered by an Israeli miscalculation. Recent statements by Israeli Generals, warning of an upcoming conflict – the worst yet, according to them - may act as a self-fulfilling prophecy Foreign observers of the Middle East have lately begun to sound the alarm about the possibility of a large scale war breaking out between Israel and its neighbors. Le Monde, for example, warns: This deadlock [in peace negotiations] is forcing the Israeli army to draw up plans for further wars based on the “security concept” – that anyone who refuses to accept…Read More... | 7 Comments
The Roundup: Ma'ariv calls on Israel and AIPAC to team up to release American spy; Israel's most important columnist denounces "Appartheid Law"; IDF General thinks conflict with Hama is "inevitable" The Headlines: Israeli-American Relations > Ma'ariv is calling upon Israel to act now – with AIPAC's help - to facilitate the release of the American spy Jonathan Pollard, who has spent the last 25 years in a federal prison, after being convicted of gathering intelligence for Israel. More details on this can be read in the Columnists' Corner, below. > Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Clinton met for 7…Read More...
Hebrew media roundup: Ehud Barak fires back, while the search for someone to replace him continues; Yedioth: Government was blackmailed by high-ranking official > Defense Minister Barak fires back at the Labor insurrection against his leadership (more on the move against Barak here). In their desperate search for a candidate to replace Barak, some MKs are mulling [Heb] a bill that would shorten the “cooling-off” period and allow the outgoing chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, to compete in the next elections As Labor's head. Ashkenazi became Barak’s bitter rival when the two fell out over the appointment of Ashkenazi’s successor,…Read More...
The Headlines: Unilateralism > Palestinian President Abbas has raised the possibility of asking the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state, if negotiations with Israel are stalled. In response, Netanyahu called for avoiding unilateral moves. He did not mean to include, of course, settlement construction that changes facts on the ground. Two prominent Jewish Americans, considered close to Obama, visited [Heb] Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and urged Netanyahu to proceed with negotiations. In the background, the administration is increasingly frustrated by Israel’s policy. > The German mediator, working on a deal between Hamas and Israel to secure the…Read More...
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