Posts tagged egypt
Netanyahu Tells Clinton Israel Will Do ‘Whatever Actions’ Necessary For Defense
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while affirming his support for diplomatic efforts to reach a cease-fire in Gaza, underscored that Israel would take “whatever actions” are necessary to defend itself.
Netanyahu made a brief statement beside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had flown to the Mideast on Tuesday to help advance diplomatic talks intended to avert an escalation of the weeklong conflict with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Clinton said the United States is pushing for a “durable outcome” promoting stability, but the cease-fire talks brokered by Egypt had failed to yield a truce as of late Tuesday, with Hamas reportedly saying an agreement won’t come any earlier than Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, a senior Hamas official had told the AP that a truce agreement was within reach, while Reuters quoted an Israeli spokesman who said that while a cease-fire wasn’t finalized, the “ball is still in play.”
Reuters later quoted a Hamas official saying they “must wait until tomorrow,” blaming Israel’s failure to respond to proposals.
Efforts to end a week-old convulsion of Israeli-Palestinian violence drew in the world’s top diplomats on Tuesday, with President Obama dispatching Clinton to the region on an emergency mission and the U.N. chief appealing from Cairo for an immediate cease-fire.
“The goal must be a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Clinton said after meeting with Netanyahu.
Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have staked tough, hard-to-bridge positions, and the gaps keep alive the threat of an Israeli ground invasion. On Tuesday, grieving Gazans were burying militants and civilians killed in ongoing Israeli airstrikes, and barrages of rockets from Gaza sent terrified Israelis scurrying to take cover.
Meanwhile, Israel reported its first military causality in the conflict after a rocket strike.
Reuters reported that Palestinian gunmen rode motorcycles and dragged the body of a man suspected of working for Israel.
There is broad consensus among Palestinians that informers for Israel deserve harsh punishment, and it is rare to hear someone speak out against killings of alleged collaborators. Such public killings been carried out in the West Bank and Gaza since the first uprising against Israeli occupation in the late 1980s.
From Egypt, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he came to the region because of the “alarming situation.”
“This must stop, immediate steps are needed to avoid further escalation, including a ground operation,” Ban said. “Both sides must hold fire immediately … Further escalation of the situation could put the entire region at risk.”
The U.S. considers Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide and other attacks, to be a terror group and does not meet with its officials. The Obama administration blames Hamas for the latest eruption of violence and says Israel has the right to defend itself. At the same time, it has warned against a ground invasion, saying it could send casualties spiraling.
The conflict erupted last week, when a resurgence in rocket fire from Gaza provoked Israel to strike back, killing Hamas’ military chief in an air attack and carrying out hundreds of assaults on militants’ underground rocket launchers and weapons stores.
The onslaught abruptly turned deadlier over the weekend as aircraft were ordered to go after Hamas military commanders and buildings suspected of housing their commands and weapons caches. In the narrow alleys and warrens of crowded Gaza, where militants often operate from residential areas, civilian casualties mounted.
By Tuesday, civilians accounted for 54 of the 113 Palestinians killed since the operation began. Some 840 people have been wounded, including 225 children, Gaza health officials said.
Early Tuesday, Israeli aircraft targeted another Hamas symbol of power, battering the headquarters of the bank senior Hamas officials set up to sidestep international sanctions on the militant group’s rule. After Hamas violently overran Gaza in June 2007, foreign lenders stopped doing business with the militant-led Gaza government, afraid of running afoul of international terror financing laws. source – Fox News
UPDATE 12:21 PM EST…Minutes after a Hamas official told Reuters that Palestinians and Israeli had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, a spokesman Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that no agreement had been reached yet. Mark Regev, the Israeli spokesman, told CNN that the negotiations are still going on.
An Israeli source told Hala Gorani of CNN that Israel is insisting on 24 hours of “calm” before agreeing to a deal. source – NY Times
Original Story ————————
We at NTEB are inclined to disbelieve the veracity of this story, but it is breaking news and we are reporting on it. Do not be surprised if rumors of a ceasefire turn out to be just that…
From Yahoo News: GAZA (Reuters) – Israel and militants from the Gaza Strip have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that will come into force at midnight local (2200 GMT), Hamas official Ayman Taha said, speaking to Reuters from Cairo.
“An agreement for calm has been reached. It will be declared at 9.00 p.m. and go into effect at midnight,” Taha said. source – Yahoo News
Iran sends hundreds of Fajr-5 Missiles To Gaza
An Iranian 150-ton freighter departed Bandar Abbas port Sunday, Nov. 18, with a cargo of 220 short-range missiles and 50 improved long-range Fajr-5 rockets for the Gaza Strip, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report. The ship turned toward the Bab al-Mandeb Straits and the Red Sea.
The new Fajr-5′s have a 200-kilo warhead, which packs a bigger punch than the 175 kilos of explosives delivered by the rockets in current use with the Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip. To extend their range to cover the 85 kilometers from Gaza to Tel Aviv, Hamas removed a part of their payloads to make them lighter.
Tehran is sending the fresh supply of disassembled rockets to replenish the stocks its allies, the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami, depleted in their round-the-clock attacks on Israel since Nov. 10.
To throw Israeli surveillance off the trail, the ship started its voyage called Vali-e Asr owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and was quickly renamed Cargo Star and hoisted the flag of Tuvalu. This South Pacific island nation, which lies between Hawaii and Australia, has a tiny population of 11,000, most of them Polynesians. Iran provides most of its revenue since earlier this year when Prime Minister Willy Telavi agreed to register Iran’s entire tanker fleet of 22 vessels to Tuvalu, to help Tehran dodge the US-EU oil embargo.
Our intelligence sources have learned that four big Sudanese shipping boats sailed out of Port Sudan early Monday and are waiting to rendezvous with the Cargo Star and offload its missile cargo in mid-sea.
The Sudanese will then be told by Tehran whether put into Port Sudan with the missiles, or turn north and sail up the Red Sea to the Straits of Tiran to link up with Egyptian fishing boats which regularly ply this waterway in the service of Palestinian-Iranian smuggling networks. They would unload the missile cargo in a quiet inlet on the Sinai coast. From there, it would be carried to the smuggling tunnels running from Sinai under the border into the Gaza Strip.\
Palestinian teams assisted by Iranian and Hizballah technicians in the Gaza Strip would then assemble the new rockets and make them operational.
Through most of the voyage, two Iranian warships, the Khark heliicopter carrier and Shahid Naqdi destroyer, which are posted permanently in the Red Sea, escorted the arms ship until the cargo changed hands.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources also disclose that the Jihad Islami leader Ramadan Abdullah Shelah was sharply remanded by Tehran for meeting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo Sunday to discuss terms for halting Israel’s counter-missile operation in Gaza now in its sixth day.
Iran bankrolls these Palestinian extremists and has no intention of letting Shelah bow to Cairo’s wishes which run counter to Tehran’s plans and interests.
While Egypt’s new Islamist leaders are intent on carving out for themselves a responsible role in the region by restoring order, solving crises and restraining radicals, radical Iran has its own fish to fry and is bent on escalating war tensions in the Middle East. source – DEBKA
Terrorist sympathizer Barack Hussein Obama
Obama knows how to play the game. He SAYS he “supports Israel’s right to defend itself”, so that his quote gets printed and archived. He is then on record as saying he “supports Israel”. Then, right after he says those words that he so obviously doesn’t mean, he goes and does what is really his heart – stopping Israel from defeating the Hamas terrorists.
From DEBKA: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman conferred urgently Sunday night, Nov. 18 – Day 5 of the Gaza offensive – on how to respond to US President Barack Obama’s insistent demand that they delay a major IDF ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
DEBKAfile’s sources disclose that when Obama spoke to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Friday, Nov. 16 – after receiving an update from Netanyahu – he gave him a 48-hour window for talking Hamas around to a ceasefire.
Not only has the Egyptian president failed in this task, his bid made matters worse:
Hamas understood the US president was leaning hard on Israel to refrain from sending troops into the Gaza Strip and took advantage of the respite to redouble its missile barrage on a dozen Israeli locations in the last three days, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Following his talks with Morsi and Netanyahu, Obama referred in Bangkok Sunday to “the next 24, 36, 48 hours as crucial; Israel responded to his request to send two senior envoys to Cairo – a high-ranking military officer and an intelligence official - take part in the ceasefire negotiations.
However, Hamas turned down all the truce proposals on the table, leaving Israel with three options:
1. To delay the ground action until Wednesday although it was poised to go forward Sunday night - even though the US president may be expected to stand by his objections then too;
2. To go ahead and launch the ground stage of the military offensive over those objections; or
3. To conduct a series of ground sorties inside the Gaza Strip to test the ground there without delay. source – DEBKA
No ceasefire as battle to stop Gaza missile strikes continues
Israeli air and naval forces launched heavy assaults in Gaza before dawn Sunday, Nov. 18 – Day 5 of the IDF’s Gaza operation – after daylong bargaining Saturday among Washington, Jerusalem, Cairo and Gaza, failed to produce an Israel-Hamas truce accord.
When Egyptian and Turkish middlemen suggested a ceasefire was close, Israel accused them of pushing Hamas’s terms which were fashioned to present the Palestinian radicals as the victor in the contest. The trio leading the Israeli war, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, countered by intensifying the IDF’s Gaza offensive – though not as yet sending ground troops in.
A Western source said it would take some days to determine if a ceasefire was feasible. Egyptian intelligence meanwhile smuggled Hamas Prime Minister Islmail Haniyeh out of Gaza and over to El Arish in northern Sinai in the convoy of visiting Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafiq Abdessalem when he departed Gaza Saturday, DEBKAfile reports.
Friday night, Israel bombers struck government headquarters in Gaza City.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi decided that Haniyeh must be continuously available at the end of a phone to lead the Hamas side in the ceasefire negotiations. This was not possible so long as the Hamas prime minister remained in Gaza. All of Hamas leaders have gone to ground for fear of targeted assassination by Israel. They have switched off their phones and electronic communications to avoid giving away their locations to Israeli surveillance. Haniyeh was even afraid to communicate with Cairo through the Egyptian military mission in Gaza.
In these circumstances, Morsi and Erdogan’s were prevented from get their ceasefire mediation bid off the ground. Moving Haniyeh to El Arish put a Hamas negotiator in place to lead the give-and-take for a truce. Our sources have not discovered if he is still there or has moved back to Gaza.
The Turkish prime minister brought a secret passenger in the plane bringing him to Cairo Saturday. He is Saleh Aruri, formerly of the Hamas military wing. Aruri had spent 15 years in an Israeli prison for terrorism and murder until he was released on Oct. 18, 2011 in the prisoner exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit on condition he went into exile.
Turkey granted him asylum and its intelligence agency MIT gave him free rein to set up an operational command in Istanbul for Hamas terrorist networks on the West Bank. On arrival in Cairo, the Turkish prime minister put Aruri in charge of the contacts with Haniyeh.
At a news conference in Cairo Saturday night, the Egyptian president and Turkish prime minister reported “some indications that there could be a ceasefire soon” although “there were still no guarantees.”
The guarantees issue has become a pivotal bargaining point.
Israel, backed by the United States, insists that a ceasefire be signed between the US, Egypt, Turkey and Israel, and exclude Hamas, which would be bound by a separate agreement with Cairo.
Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman are asking the United States to act as guarantor for a ceasefire. Erdogan has countered by inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to join US President Barack Obama as victor.
Hamas has rejected all of Israel’s terms.
During the night, Israel denied reports circulating in Cairo that an Israeli negotiator was heading for the Egyptian capital to get down to the specifics of an emerging truce deal. The three Israeli war leaders decided not to fall into the trap laid by Morsi and Erdogan. Instead, they told the IDF to press ahead with the operation until its objectives were attained – hence the launching of a fresh air and sea assault before daybreak Sunday.
OC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Rousso defined those objectives to reporters Saturday night as “eliminating the war arsenals of Hamas and terrorist organizations and restoring peace and normality to the population of southern Israel.”
The ground operation is meanwhile delayed, in accordance with Netanyahu’s promise to President Obama in their conversation early Saturday, that a full-scale ground invasion would not go forward so long as there was a chance of a ceasefire – unless there was escalation from Hamas or a strike that caused significant casualties.
A western source in Cairo familiar with the truce negotiations reported that Obama has not yet decided whether he wants to be directly involved in any ceasefire deal, which in any case has not reached the concluding stage. “The cake dough is still being kneaded and not yet ready to for the oven,” he said. source – DEBKA
Over 200 air strikes hit back at terrorists
“”Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalms 122:6
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations to include the prime minister’s headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels.
The new attacks, which Gaza officials say left 10 dead, followed an unprecedented rocket strike aimed at the contested holy city of Jerusalem that raised the stakes in Israel’s violent confrontation with Palestinian militants and extended the battlefield.
Israeli aircraft also kept pounding their original targets, the militants’ weapons storage facilities and underground rocket launching sites. They also went after rocket squads more aggressively. The military has called up thousands of reservists and massed troops, tanks and other armored vehicles along the border with Gaza, signaling a ground invasion could be imminent.
Militants, undaunted by the heavy damage the Israeli attacks have inflicted, have unleashed some 500 rockets against the Jewish state, including new, longer-range weapons turned for the first time this week against Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv heartland. Following those attacks, the military deployed an Iron Dome rocket defense battery in central Israel on Saturday. The system, devised precisely to deflect the Gaza rocket threat, was deployed two months earlier than planned, the Defense Ministry said.
Ten people, including eight militants, were killed and dozens were wounded in the various attacks early Saturday, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said. In all, 40 Palestinians including 13 civilians and three Israeli civilians have been killed since the Israeli operation began.
The violence has widened the instability gripping the Mideast. At the same time, revolts against entrenched regional regimes have opened up new possibilities for Hamas. Islamists across the Mideast have been strengthened, bringing newfound recognition to Hamas, shunned by the international community because of its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
A high-level Tunisian delegation, led by Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem, drove that point home with a visit to Gaza on Saturday. The foreign minister’s first stop was the still-smoldering ruins of the three-story office building of Gaza’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.
“Israel has to understand that there is an international law and it has to respect the international law to stop the aggression against the Palestinian people,” Abdessalem told The Associated Press during a tour of Gaza’s main hospital, Shifa, later Saturday. He said his country was doing whatever it can to promote a cease-fire, but did not elaborate.
It was the first official Tunisian visit since Hamas’s violent 2007 takeover of the territory. Egypt’s prime minister visited Friday and a Moroccan delegation is due on Sunday, following a landmark visit by Qatar’s leader last month that implied political recognition.
Israel had been incrementally expanding its operation beyond military targets but before dawn on Saturday it ramped that up dramatically, hitting Hamas symbols of power. Israeli defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential decisions, said military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz personally ordered the scope of the airstrikes to be increased.
Haniyeh’s three-story office building was flattened by an airstrike that blew out windows in neighboring homes. He was not inside the building at the time. The building’s security chief said Hamas scored points despite Israel’s military superiority.
“Hamas responded to the Zionist aggression and hit them in the depth of their land,” he said, referring to rockets aimed Friday at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Another airstrike brought down the three-story home of a Hamas commander in the Jebaliya refugee camp near Gaza City, critically wounding him and injuring other residents of the building, medics said.
Missiles smashed into two small security facilities and the massive Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, setting off a huge blaze that engulfed nearby houses and civilian cars parked outside, the Interior Ministry reported. No one was inside the buildings.
The Interior Ministry said a government compound was also hit while devout Muslims streamed to the area for early morning prayers, although it did not report any casualties from that attack.
Air attacks knocked out five electricity transformers, cutting off power to more than 400,000 people in southern Gaza, according to the Gaza electricity distribution company. People switched on backup generators for limited electrical supplies.
In southern Gaza, aircraft went after underground tunnels militants use to smuggle in weapons and other contraband from Egypt, residents reported. A huge explosion in the area sent buildings shuddering in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, 45 kilometers (30 miles) away, an Associated Press correspondent there reported.
The Israeli military said more than 800 targets have been struck since the operation began
The widened scope of targets brings the scale of fighting closer to that of the war the two groups waged four years ago. Hamas was badly bruised during that conflict, but has since restocked its arsenal with more and better weapons, and has been under pressure from smaller, more militant groups to prove its commitment to fighting Israel.
The attack aimed at Jerusalem on Friday and two strikes on metropolitan Tel Aviv showcased the militants’ new capabilities, including a locally made rocket that appears to have taken Israeli defense officials by surprise. Both areas had remained outside the gunmen’s reach before.
Just a few years ago, Palestinian rockets were limited to crude devices manufactured in Gaza. But in recent years, Israeli officials say, Hamas and other armed groups have smuggled in sophisticated, longer-range rockets from Iran and Libya.
Israeli leaders have threatened to widen the operation even further if the rocket fire doesn’t halt. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said options included the possible assassination of Haniyeh, the prime minister.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in emergency session with Cabinet ministers Friday and they approved mobilizing up to 75,000 reservists, more than doubling the number authorized earlier this week. That would be the largest call-up in a decade. At a parking lot in central Israel, uniformed reservists waited to board buses. One prayed, covered in a Jewish prayer shawl.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a military spokeswoman, said 16,000 reservists were called to duty on Friday and others could soon follow. She said no decision had been made on a ground offensive but all options are on the table.
President Barack Obama spoke separately to Israeli and Egyptian leaders Friday as the violence in Gaza intensified. In a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense. To Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, he praised Egypt’s efforts to ease regional tensions. source – Yahoo News
The Muslim Brotherhood is about to take Jordan
“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:” Psalm 83
RELATED STORY: Please visit our Muslim Brotherhood and Obama Archives. A guaranteed eye-opener!
US President Barack Hussein Obama, so effective in arming and financing the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt has not yet voiced his support for the poor, misunderstood “students who want democratic change” in Jordan, but he will. You can almost set your watch by it…
From NBC WorldNews: Thousands of people called for the removal Jordan’s King Abdullah at a rally in downtown Amman on Friday in protest at fuel price hikes, in a marked escalation of street anger in the third day of demonstrations in the Western-backed kingdom.
“Go down Abdullah, go down,” the protesters Friday chanted as police, some in riot gear, largely stayed away from crowd, near the main Husseini Mosque.
The crowed also chanted “The people want the downfall of the regime,” the rallying cry of the Arab Spring uprisings that have shaken the Middle East and toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
“Shame. Shame. Prices are spiking and Abdullah gambles,” people shouted. Criticizing the king in public is forbidden in Jordan and is punishable by up to three years in jail.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, had called on people to take to the streets, but top officials from the group choose not to participate in the rally. The 50-year-old king has ruled since 1999.
On Thursday, the protester was killed and scores were injured during an attack on a police station overnight in Jordan’s second-largest city of Irbid, witnesses told Reuters. Police said they used tear gas to disperse masked youths who attacked government property.
Some protesters torched part of Irbid’s municipal headquarters later on Thursday to vent their anger at officials who said the dead young man had been armed, the witnesses said.
Elswhere, hundreds of people blocked roads, set government buildings alight and trashed shops in the towns of Maan, Tafila, Salt and Karak.
“The country has risen up from north to south and this state of popular tension is unprecedented,” said Murad Adailah, a senior member of the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A staunch U.S. ally with the longest border with Israel, Jordan has not seen the kind of mass revolts that swept other Arab countries. The coming days will be crucial in testing whether the relative calm can continue.
Jordanians have held occasional protests inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, demanding democratic reforms and curbs on corruption. But those gatherings were peaceful and the security forces did not use weapons.
Demonstrators sometimes chant against Abdullah but there seems to be little enthusiasm for revolution. The monarchy is seen as a guarantor of stability, balancing the interests of tribes native to the east of the Jordan river with those of the majority of citizens, who are of Palestinian origin.
But the price rises announced on Tuesday could boost the popularity of the Islamist opposition, emboldened by the successes of its ideological brethren in Egypt and Tunisia.
The government has warned Islamists not to take advantage of the tension caused by the price rises but they have never sounded more confident.
“This is a huge political crisis and it has become clear that there is no more room to delay real and comprehensive reforms,” said Jamil Abu Bakr, a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
Most of the civil unrest is in outlying areas inhabited by powerful tribes who are the original inhabitants of the country. They supply the army and security forces with recruits and form the backbone of support for the ruling Hashemite dynasty. source – NBC WorldNews