February 25, 2011

Begin Excerpt from DEBKAfile Exclusive

Ham as

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Iran-made missiles hit Beersheba as Iranian warships dock in Syria

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

February 24, 2011, 11:26 AM (GMT+02:00)

Israel’s security leaders ought not to have been surprised when Hamas fired two long-range Iranian-made Grad missiles Wednesday night, Feb. 23 at the Negev cities of Beersheba and Netivot. The attack occurred exactly when Iranian Navy commander Adm. Habibollah Sayyari was due in Syria’s Latakia port to attend the welcoming party for the two Iranian warships which made it through the Suez Canal without US or Israeli interference. It also marked a fresh, redoubled Hamas offensive against Israel.

The occupants of the Beersheba home, hit by the first long-range Grad surface missile to reach the Negev city from the Gaza Strip (30 km away) since Israel’s Cast Led campaign of 2009, saved themselves by using the seconds between the warning siren and the explosion to take shelter in a bomb-proof room.

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That was the only part of their home to survive the blast. Eleven shock victims were hospitalized along the battered street.

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The town of Netivot was spared by the Grad falling outside the built-up area.
Earlier that day, a shoot-out flared at the Karni crossing when a P alestini

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an gang laid explosives at the border fence and followed up with mortar fire. IDF border patrols and tanks crews returned the fire, injuring 11 Palestinians. A second round of Palestinian mortar fire followed against a Shaar Hanegev kibbutz.

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No Israelis were hurt in this round of incidents.

Wednesday night, Israel put the communities within range of the Gaza Strip, including the cities of Beersheba, Netivot, Ofakim, Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod, on heightened alert status for further Palestinian attacks. That night, Israeli air strikes hit a Jihad Islami missile team and then spread out to bomb Hamas command centers, which had meanwhile been hurriedly evacuated in expectation of Israel’s routine aerial reprisal.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that more aggression from the Gaza Strip is inevitable given the Netanyahu government’s feeble or non-response despite the urgent need to shore up Israel’s security situation continuously eroded by the turbulence in Arab capitals.

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Even though it was obvious that Hamas had been strengthened by Hosni Mubarak’s fall in Egypt, Israel stood by as Hamas rampaged out of Gaza and into Sinai and the Egyptian-Israeli border areas – even when a Hamas special team on Feb. 5 blew up the Egyptian pipeline which conveyed 43 percent of Israel’s gas needs. Replacement sources have added close to $400 million a month to Israel’s energy bill.
All Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did was to permit an additional Egyptian troop brigade and a half to enter Sinai, some of them to guard the pipeline, which Cairo shows no sign of repairing.

Western military sources report that the Iran-backed Palestinian Hamas is further exploiting the shaky situation in Cairo and Israeli inaction to double or even triple the quantities of weapons smuggled via the Suez Canal and Sinai into the Gaza Strip. One Israeli officer said he had never before seen surface-to-surface missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles secreted into Gaza in such bulk.

The free passage afforded the two Iranian warships for transiting the Suez Canal Tuesday, Feb. 22 – without Egypt or US and Israeli warships even inspecting their cargoes – has encouraged Tehran to press on with its expansionist ambitions. Hamas understood that its redoubled offensive against Israel would be most welcome. The Palestinian extremists held their fire until Tehran announced the warships had put into Latakia Wednesday and the arrival of Iran’s navy chief that night. And then they went into action – first against an IDF border patrol, then to fire Grads at Beersheba and Netivot.

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Israel’s policy-makers have chosen to ignore the role of those two vessels as the thin edge of a wedge: They are to set up a permanent base on the Mediterranean with more Iranian naval vessels continuing to pass through the Suez Canal and joining them at Latakia.

Hamas is counting on Iran building up its military presence and on Israel to stand by helplessly – just as it did when its request to the new military rulers of Egypt to stop the Iranian flotilla’s passage through Suez went unanswered.
The Palestinians ruling Gaza are sending Grad missiles as messengers to Israel that they now enjoy Iranian support close by in the Mediterranean. DEBKAfile’s military sources wonder if this message will not finally act as a wakeup call for Jerusalem.

Excerpts which follow are from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs/Daily Alert

February 24, 2011

Excerpt 1 –Wall Street Journal

Second Suspected Syria Nuclear Site Found – Jay Solomon (Wall Street Journal)

A second suspected nuclear installation has been identified in Syria, according to commercial satellite photos published Wednesday by Washington’s Institute for Science and International Security.

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The photos are of one of three additional sites the IAEA believes could be connected to the Dair Alzour facility, destroyed in a 2007 Israeli military strike.

Excerpt 2 – AFP

Israel: Iran Overcoming Nuclear Program Problems (AFP)

Iran is gradually overcoming problems in its nuclear program, and could still detonate a nuclear device within a year if it put its mind to it, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told CNN in Washington.

But Barak said Iran was “several years” from having the capability of putting a nuclear weapon on a medium-range missile.

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“It’s clear they had certain holdups along the way and they are moving slower than expected… but the painful fact is they keep moving forward. They are overcoming gradually the difficulties they faced.”

Excerpt 3 – Bloomberg

UK: Some Middle East Rulers Use Issue of Israel as a Distraction – Robert Hutton (Bloomberg)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron told students in Qatar that some Middle Eastern rulers were using the Israel-Palestine conflict as a distraction from their own oppressive regimes.

Excerpt 4 – BBC News

Will Arab Revolt Spread to Palestinians? – Jon Donnison (BBC News)

As Arab uprisings spread across the Middle East, Palestinian leaders face their own crisis of legitimacy.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’ mandate expired more than two years ago, but he remains in power. Parliamentary elections were cancelled in 2010 and are now over a year late. The parliament in Ramallah has not passed a law for more than three years.

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Palestinians remain politically and geographically split – with the Islamist Hamas in power in Gaza and Fatah running the West Bank.

“After Egypt and Tunisia, God knows who might be next,” joked Mr. Abbas in a speech in Ramallah last week. “Don’t laugh. It might be me.”

Excerpt 5 – Los Angeles Times

Some in Israel Warn Against Google Street View – Jessica Guynn (Los Angeles Times)

Government officials in Israel are worried that Google’s Street View map service could endanger public figures by giving terrorists detailed information that could be used in carrying out attacks.

Street View allows users to virtually tour locations in 27 countries as Google dispatches a fleet of camera-equipped vehicles to the locations.

Israeli Cabinet members discussed the security and privacy implications of Google Street View on Monday and decided to work with Google in launching the service in the coming months.

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“We already have problems with Google Earth, which exposes all kinds of facilities,” said retired Lt. Col. Mordechai Kedar, a veteran of Israeli intelligence. Palestinian militants in Gaza have said they use Google Earth to identify targets for rocket attacks.

Excerpt 6 – Washington Post

Gaddafi Tightens Grip on Libyan Capital as Rebels Advance – Leila Fadel and Sudarsan Raghavan

Moammar Gaddafi tightened his grip on Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Wednesday, flooding the streets with militiamen and loyalist troops, as rebels consolidated their control of key eastern cities and continued advancing west.

It appeared that Libya’s powerful tribes, long a beneficiary of Gaddafi’s patronage, were turning against him. “We are seeing more and more tribal defections. A lot of police and military in Tobruk, Benghazi and other eastern cities defected because their tribal leaders had ordered them,” said Ronald Bruce St. John, an expert on Libya. But so far, it appears that the major tribes in and around Tripoli continue to support Gaddafi. (Washington Post)

Excerpt 7 – AP and Jerusalem Post

Libya: 2,000 Reported Killed in Benghazi, 1,000 in Tripoli

A French doctor working in Benghazi told Le Point magazine that over 2,000 people were killed in that city alone in the past days of fighting, AFP reported.

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“From Tobruk to Darna, they carried out a real massacre….In total, I think there are more than 2,000 deaths,” he said. Italian news reports have said witnesses and hospital sources in Libya are estimating there are 1,000 dead in Tripoli alone. (AP-Jerusalem Post)

Excerpt 8 – New York Times

Gaddafi Massing Forces in Tripoli as Rebellion Spreads – Kareem Fahim and David D.

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Gaddafi has built up an elaborate paramilitary force.

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At the top of the structure is his 3,000-member revolutionary guard corps, which mainly guards him personally.

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Then there are the militia units controlled by his seven sons. But perhaps the most significant force is about 2,500 mercenaries from Chad, Sudan and Niger that he calls his Islamic Pan African Brigade. (New York Times)

Excerpt 9 – New York Times

Arab Unrest Propels Iran as Saudi Influence Declines – Michael Slackman

The popular revolts shaking the Arab world have begun to shift the balance of power in the region, bolstering Iran’s position while weakening its rival, Saudi Arabia. The uprisings are driven by domestic concerns. But they have already shredded a regional paradigm in which Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, aligned with the West, supported engaging Israel and containing Israel’s enemies, including Hamas and Hizbullah. Mubarak of Egypt has been forced to resign, King Abdullah of Jordan is struggling to control discontent in his kingdom and Saudi Arabia faces a rising challenge to its regional role.

“I think the Saudis are worried that they’re encircled – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon; Yemen is unstable; Bahrain is very uncertain,” said Alireza Nader, an expert with the RAND Corporation. “They worry that the region is ripe for Iranian exploitation. Iran has shown that it is very capable of taking advantage of regional instability.” “Iran is the big winner here,” said a regional adviser to the U.S. government. (New York Times)

Excerpt 10 – BBC News

Gaza Militants Fire Rockets at Beersheba, Israel

A rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Wednesday for the first time since 2009. Officials said one house in the city was extensively damaged when it was hit by a Grad rocket. (BBC News)

Excerpt 11 – Ha’aetz

Israel to Let 300 Palestinians Return to West Bank from Libya – Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday: “Because of the current violence in Libya I received a personal request from [PA] President Abbas…that Israel allow a number of Palestinians to leave Libya and to enter the West Bank…so Israel will enable 300 Palestinians to enter the West Bank” as a humanitarian gesture. He said the move was “a mark of our desire for good neighborliness and…peace.” (Ha’aretz)

Excerpt 12 – Jerusalem Post

Palestinians to “Boycott U.S.” over Security Council Veto – Khaled Abu Toameh
Following last Friday’s veto against an anti-settlement resolution at the UN Security Council, several Palestinian local councils in the Jerusalem area, at the request of Fatah, announced that they would boycott U.S. government officials and American journalists in protest. Hatem Abdel Kader, a senior Fatah official and former PA minister, demanded that Obama publicly apologize to the Palestinians for the veto. (Jerusalem Post)

Excerpt 13 – New York Times

Mideast Upheaval Jolts Israel – Steven Erlanger

Israelis worry that Arab democracy movements will ultimately be dominated by extremists, as happened in Iran after the 1979 revolution that ousted the shah. They worry about the chaotic transition between revolt and democratic stability, if it ever comes. They see Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as pressing for more solidarity with the Palestinians and Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood. And they fear that Israel’s regional partners in checking Iran are under threat or falling.

Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and former aide to Prime Minister Netanyahu, said that Arab democracy could make Israel more secure.

“For years, Arab leaders who thought they had legitimacy problems because they were not elected played several chords to the populace – Arab unity, Islamic solidarity, and most important, the struggle against Israel….So if you have regimes legitimized by democratic elections and accountable governance, then they will depend less on the conflict for their own internal standing.” Even so, “the transition to democracy is full of all kinds of land mines,” he said, arguing that the regional destabilization had helped Iran, which Israel regards as its most important threat.

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(New York Times)

Excerpt 14 – National Interest

Losing the Middle East – Benny Morris


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the dust settles in the Middle East in a few months, my guess is that one will see that Western – and Israeli – interests will have been substantially undermined and anti-Western – and anti-Israeli – interests substantially bolstered. In the Gulf states with large Shi’ite populations – such as in Bahrain, where the Shi’ites constitute the overwhelming majority – Iran’s influence will vastly increase.

In Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen, help to the American “War on Terror” will be considerably reduced, or will vanish altogether. Similarly, a greater frostiness will enter into attitudes across the Middle East towards Israel.

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In Egypt, opposition elements are already calling for revocation of the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state or, at the least, “reconsidering it” and a permanent end to the multi-billion dollar gas exports to Israel. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the Egyptians will attempt to control the flow of arms and ammunition to Gaza as they did during the Mubarak years. (National Interest)

Excerpt 15 – Atlantic Monthly

Egyptian Sheikh Qaradawi Seeks Total War – Jeffrey Goldberg

Mark Gardner and Dave Rich analyzed leading Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi’s 2003 book, Fatwas on Palestine, and concluded that this putatively moderate Islamic cleric argues clearly and consistently that hatred of Israel and Jews is Islamically sanctioned, and that the destruction of Israel is mandated by God. Qaradawi writes: It is “obligatory upon every Muslim wherever he is to defend Jerusalem, and al-Aqsa Mosque. This is an obligation upon all Muslims to participate in defending Jerusalem with their souls, money, and all that they possess.” Qaradawi warns Muslims not to be friends with Jews, because such friendship might diminish their desire to wage jihad against Israel. (Atlantic Monthly)

Excerpt 16 – The Bible

Hebrews 9:27 -And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:



Excerpt 17 – The Bible

Hebrews 9:28 – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

1 Peter 2:24 – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

John 5:40 – And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

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