Israel’s intelligence services have a remarkable record of success in the West Bank. Not this time. Hard lessons will have to be learned about the failure to thwart the killings of the three Israeli teens
An Israeli soldier patrols near the area where the bodies of three Israeli teenagers were found, in the village of Halhul, near the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Majdi Mohammed)
Ibrahim Hamed, the former head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis, was thought of as a “ghost” for many years. Almost a legend. The Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces were not able to catch up to him, as he slipped through their grasp time and again. Only after eight years of pursuit was he captured in 2006 in a safe house in Ramallah’s al-Balou neighborhood.
People involved in the search for “The Sheikh” — who is today 49 and serving 54 life sentences — say one of the basic things that allowed him to evade capture for so long was his refusal to use a mobile phone. Israel’s security establishment managed to track his calls only twice over all those years, and even those instances were calls made from public phones.
Israeli soldiers on patrol in the West Bank city of Hebron, Sept. 23, 2013. (photo by Getty Images/Mamoun Wazwaz)
Israel’s Shin Bet is summing up 2013. The General Security Service, which is charged with preventing terrorist attacks in the country, released on Jan. 27 a detailed report covering 2013. The main data of this annual report points to a significant rise in terrorist attacks as compared to 2012. The number of attacks doubled in that time, from 578 in 2012 to 1,271 in 2013.
Summary⎙ Print The 2013 Shin Bet report indicates a rise in terror activities originating in the West Bank, attributed partly to the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the weakening of Fatah security mechanisms.
According to the Shin Bet’s data, there was a drop in the number of casualties from terrorist attacks, with six in 2013, as compared to 10 in 2012. However, two reservations should be considered when making that comparison. The first is that in 2013, five Israelis were killed in attacks launched from the West Bank, as compared to zero in 2012. Furthermore, among the Israeli casualties listed by the Shin Bet for 2012 are the six soldiers who were killed in Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip.
Monday night, Jan. 2, Al Qaeda claimed to have established its first Jerusalem operational cell calling it the “Sunni Youth Movement Cell in Greater Jerusalem.” Bulletin No. 1 with details of the organization and its targets was promised in the next few days. According to debkafile’s counter-terror sources, Israeli intelligence has advised the government and security services to treat the announced appearance of al Qaeda, and its aim to reach out from Jerusalem to the West Bank, very seriously.
They believe it may have been triggered by Palestinian plans to launch a “popular resistance” campaign from the West Bank. As disclosed earlier by debkafile, the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah are getting set for mass demonstrators to crash their way across barriers into Israel, whereas Hamas and Jihad Islami aim to use the resulting commotion for terrorist attacks.
Those intelligence sources also tie the rise of the first Al Qaeda cell in greater Jerusalem with the mushrooming of Palestinian Islamist Salafite organizations in the Palestinian centers of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. These organizations are either linked directly to Al Qaeda or deeply influenced by its jihadist ideology and ready to act on it.
Such organizations as Fatah al-Islam, Ansar al Sunna and Jund al Sham, for instance, are catching on like wildfire in the Palestinian enclave of Al Hilwa near the south Lebanese port of Sidon. Al Qaeda and its extremist offspring are already in control of parts of the camp. Armed Fatah groups have been battling those organizations in unsuccessful efforts to cut down their spreading influence. Continue reading →
Last Updated: July 24. 2009 12:27AM UAE / July 23. 2009 8:27PM GMT
Khalid Mishal, pictured this year in Cairo, is rightly portrayed as a pivotal figure in the history of Hamas but McGeough’s book sheds little light on the man himself. Amr Nabil / AP Photo
Twelve years after Israel’s botched attempt to assassinate Khalid Mishal, he leads Hamas with more authority than ever,Gershom Gorenberg writes. But can Mishal steer his movement into the arena of political compromise?
Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assasination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas
“When Israel occupied Jerusalem, I was 14,” Sheikh Jamil Hamami once told me. Hamami grew up in East Jerusalem. That week in June 1967, he had heard the promises on the radio that the Arab states would defeat Israel “in a few days, a few hours”. Instead came the Israeli advance. Hamami described the day that the Old City fell in a series of staccato images: “The black picture in my mind is seeing an Israeli soldier enter Al Aqsa… Near the Wailing Wall, I saw a soldier step on the Quran… A soldier told us it was forbidden to pray in Al Aqsa.” Continue reading →
WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) — Jordan’s King Abdullah, in his 10th year on the Hashemite throne, warned that either a Palestinian state is created this year — or there will be another war in the Middle East in 2010.
If the king’s either/or prognostication proves accurate, war will come again next year because there isn’t a snowball’s chance in the Negev desert of a Palestinian state in the West Bank in 2009 — or 2010. The creation of such an entity would cost tens of billions of dollars that the United States would be expected to pay. The repatriation of some 300,000 Jewish settlers, now in 160 settlements, would entail billions more. And after what happened in Gaza in 2005, where 8,000 settlers who had occupied 40 percent of the 130-mile strip for 38 years were forcibly evicted by some 50,000 Israel Defense Forces troops and Israeli police, few, if any, are willing to be uprooted again. Continue reading →