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Israel Violated Ceasefire Talks, Spied on Meshal, and Targeted Deif for Assassination

There have been several important developments regarding Israel’s Mohammed Deif assassination plot.  Two Arab publications published stories (English language report in Times of Israel) indicating that during the Cairo ceasefire talks Khaled Meshal determined it was necessary to speak with Mohammed Deif.  He called him by phone.  In doing so, Israeli intelligence intercepted it and was able to pinpoint Deif’s location.  This information was forwarded to the IDF, which planned and executed the assassination plot which ended in the death of 12 Gaza civilians, including Deif’s pregnant wife, a son and daughter and members of the al Dalou family which owned the house.

Jodi Rudoren seems to have overlooked that fact in writing this bit of treacle in the NY Times:

Israel this week deployed its extensive intelligence capabilities and overwhelming firepower in targeted bombings with limited civilian casualties less likely to raise the world’s ire.

Are 12 dead “limited?”  I suppose if you compare 12 dead with the 160 Israel massacred after the Rafah tunnel attack, then it is more limited.  But is this an ‘acceptable’ number of civilian dead for anyone but the IDF and Jodi Rudoren?

Israel organized the attack as it was supposedly negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas.  The go-ahead was given to execute the plan within minutes of rogue elements in Gaza firing three rockets which caused no injuries or damage inside Israel.  This broke the ceasefire and enabled Israel to attack.  As I noted in a previous post, Amir Oren even hints in his Haaretz article that Israel in the past has orchestrated provocations which it’s exploited to carry out similar such attacks.  So there is a distinct possibility that Israel either covertly arranged for the missile attack or manipulated Palestinian forces into firing them.

At any rate, such conniving and deceit on Israel’s part makes a mockery of this Rudoren hasbara-passing-for-journalism:

Hamas is the party that keeps extending this summer’s bloody battle in the Gaza Strip, repeatedly breaking temporary truces…

Let’s look at the record: Israel ransacked the West Bank thus provoking the initial missile barrage.  Then Israel produced a fake ceasefire agreement which it wrote and presented to Egypt.  The latter lied, claiming Hamas had been consulted and agreed to it, when it hadn’t.  Now, Israel exploited ceasefire talks to enable it to try to murder Hamas’ military chief.  So who’s “breaking temporary truces?”

I should point out that both Arabic language articles say that when Meshal called Deif, he violated longstanding Hamas security protocols.  The reports say that Deif’s bodyguards grew suspicious and hustled him out of his hiding place.  Thus his life was spared.  There has been no confirmation of his death or survival.  Though I reported my Israeli source saying there was a 90% chance Deif had been killed, I wonder why a devout Islamist movement wouldn’t have held a funeral as is required under Islamic (and Jewish) law?

Let’s look at another problematic element of the assassination plot.  An Israeli twitter user claiming access to inside security sources,  was one of the first (early on August 20th) to tweet with specific information about the weaponry used:

gbu28 mohammed deif hamas

U.S.-made GBU28 bunker buster bomb which may’ve been used by Israel in assassination attempt on Mohammed Deif

Palestinians followed.  I read media sources who said Hamas made the same claim.  My own Israeli inside source confirmed that U.S. bunker busters were used, but he would not confirm the specific type.

Both Jodi Rudoren and Amos Harel reported, no doubt based on IDF or other Israeli official sources, that Israel used five “one-ton” bombs to destroy the home.  The reason this is important is that the GBU28 is a 5,000 lb. (or 2.5 ton) bomb.  Claiming a one-ton bomb was used would enable the IDF to claim the weapon was Israeli made since it does produce such a munition (which is itself based on a U.S. design).  This is the sort of confusion and diversionary tactic in which Israel specializes.  My strong sense is that what Rudoren and Harel were told was a lie.

Further, no matter what bomb was used, the aircraft that delivered the bomb to its target was for certain U.S.-made.  So the Obama administration, which recently made a point of suspending Israeli access to Hellfire missiles in protest against the ongoing carnage in Gaza, has yet again gotten a finger in the eye from the Israelis.  Netanyahu, someone who minutely calibrates his status vis a vis his political rivals and enemies, would relish the opportunity to assassinate a Hamas leader with a U.S.-made weapon, thus further implicating us in his war.

In other words, the Deif assassination (attempt) has U.S. fingerprints all over it.  We bought and paid for it.  We enabled it.  We are hardly less guilty than the Israeli generals and intelligence agents who planned it or the pilot who dropped it.

In case anyone claims I’m criticizing this act because I have a soft spot for Hamas or Deif: not true.  I have little doubt the sort of person he is.  Nor do I have much doubt Israel helped make him that way.  But the truth is that assassinations are short-cuts that enable you not to have a real policy or approach to your enemy.  They enable you to hold him at bay for a time.  But they are a dead-end in terms of solving real problems using real solutions.  Not to mention that they are extra-judicial executions and state-sponsored terrorism, a violation of international law.

Ironically, the U.S. has little to complain about since we’ve aped Israel’s own counter-terror policy with our drone assassinations.  A tactic that Pres. Obama has embraced because he too has no constructive policy of engagement regarding the Arab-Muslim world.

I’ve tried for the past two days to get anyone at the State or Defense Departments to comment on this story, without success.  The State Dept. press officer pointed me to a useless transcript of the last media briefing which contained no reference to this subject.  When I pointed that out, the PR flack forwarded me to the Political-Military Affaris unit of State, which I e-mailed without success.  If anyone from the Pentagon is reading this, Commander Bill Speaks, I left you a message today and didn’t hear back.  I’d love to.

I wonder why the U.S. government isn’t taking my calls?

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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • nessim dayan August 23, 2014, 2:33 AM

    You ought to read Mr Forbes’ latest editorial in his latest magazine.
    The rant of a likudnik paid by casino owner. Makes zero sense absolutely nuts. He may be rich but above the shoulders it’s lonely very lonely. Perhaps sad to see how low the mighty have fallen

  • Black Canary August 23, 2014, 3:25 AM

    ” Let’s look at the record: Israel ransacked the West Bank thus provoking the initial missile barrage. ”

    No. Hamas admits to having been behind the kidnap/murders of the three boys, which prompted the West Bank arrests.
    You might add the Hamas plans for a West Bank coup and third intifada into the mix as another reason for the arrests.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4560000,00.html

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 2:02 PM

      @ Black Canary: More hasbara. “Hamas” has not admitted anything. Go back and read what Meshal actually said & not what the Israeli hasbarist media regurgitates to you.

      The other bubbeh meiseh about the 3rd intifada and West Bank coup is a concoction of some overeager Shabak interrogators or possibly the PMO seeking to gin up hysteria against Hamas. These secret police claim al-Aruri was the mastermind of this conspiracy. A guy who’s in exile in Turkey. A guy who may’ve just said Hamas was responsible for the kidnappings, then took it back almost in the same breath. He’s a credible source.

      If I believed every half-baked idea or claim Israeli cabinet ministers spewed I’d think Israel was even more guilty of war crimes than it otherwise is. I know enough to disregard the nonsense they spew & don’t confuse the idiotic ramblings of a political wannabe with official state policy. Yet you don’t have the savvy or intelligence to do that when it comes to Hamas. You want to hate so you pick & choose among the detritus and contrive a satisfying but flagrantly false reality.

      Hasbarists “hear what they want to hear & disregard the rest.” Pitiful. Your next overstatement or lie will earn moderation.

      • Shmuel August 23, 2014, 2:38 PM

        I believe simon and garfunkle said this quote about all men not hasbarists, and that’s what you have done with Mashal’s speech.
        3-5 people can’t pull off what they did:you need a car supplier, gun supplier, body burier, hider of the perpetrators, financers, escape route helpers, etc.
        fortunately spontaneous murders rarely happen (like the bulldozer murders) but rather are meticulously planned by large organizations.

        • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 8:25 PM

          @ Shmuel: Of course it was S&G I was paraphrasing & most Americans would know that & I’ve quoted the original wording several times before here with attribution. So I wasn’t trying to slip anything by ya. Don’t worry.

          Even if 20, 30 or 50 co conspirators enabled the terror attack, it wasn’t an official Hamas operation. It was a rogue operation. Even Israeli intelligence believes this & has said so in the media. I’m not saying it was spontaneous. But it certainly was nothing like official Hamas operations which are much more meticulously executed.

          • Slevdi August 24, 2014, 12:36 PM

            You haven’t a leg to stand on. If it was a rogue operation why didn’t Hamas immediately hand the kidnappers over to the police investigation when they found out about it? They supported it once they knew about it. That makes it an official Hamas operation. No question. I think you are hearing what you want to hear and disregarding the truth.

          • Richard Silverstein August 25, 2014, 11:13 PM

            @ Slevdi: Really? So when renegade Hamas militants committ a crime then Hamas should just go to the Israeli (or even Fatah) police and hand those militants over? Do you know any militant group in history that’s ever done anything like this? In fact, the term moser came as a despicable curse levelled by Jews at any Jew who reported another Jew to the secular authorities in Russia, Poland, etc. So if we Jews hate such people, then Hamas should ignore that & just “do the right thing” as YOU define it?

            The only thing that’s official here is that you’re a hasbarist.

      • Black Canary August 24, 2014, 2:08 AM
        • Richard Silverstein August 24, 2014, 8:43 AM

          I love people like you who quote Eli Lake as if he was Moses on Sinai. He’s an extension of the PMO or even Mossad. He wouldn’t know his way home unless Bibi told him how to get there.

  • said August 23, 2014, 4:32 AM

    Well when rhe u.s army decided to kill it wanted terrorist ,they get the o.k by the govtment if the bomb meant for the wanted guy will kill up to 40 people ,so in israel case 12 people died is like what the u.s would of done if they had thi kind of situation and they did it vety often in iraq and afhanitan and you are saying that the u.s should watch israel ???? You are funny

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 1:55 PM

      @ said: Actually, the U.S. counter-terror strategy was inspired by Israel. We’re your mentees in that sense. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

  • Shmuel August 23, 2014, 10:56 AM

    “Let’s look at the record: Israel ransacked the West Bank …”
    How could you so blatantly omit the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli children? Is this what your journalism has become?

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 1:53 PM

      @ Shmuel: So you’re claiming that the kidnapping & murder of the 3 youths justified massive government sponsored pogroms in the W Bank leading to the killing of 7 Palestinians, ransacking of thousands of homes & arrest of 500 Palestinians, almost all of whom had nothing to do with the crime?

      As for the killings, at most 3-5 people were involved in that. As for the West Bank pogroms, an entire nation sponsored that. Which is worse?

      • Shmuel August 23, 2014, 2:25 PM

        It’s not a question what is worse, but rather why you chose to start the present conflict on the time line of the WB arrests rather than the fact of the murder of the three jewish boys. The time line you chose is false and deceiving even if you feel Israel’s response to be too severe

        • Mary Hughes Thompson August 23, 2014, 8:08 PM

          Shmuel, you’re absolutely right. There have been so many Palestinians murdered in the West Bank it’s difficult to pick a starting point. Richard could have started with the half dozen or so Palestinians murdered in the days before the 3 settler boys went missing. Two of them were teenagers posing no threat to IDF; yet they were executed in cold blood by Israel. Let me know if you missed it and I’ll post the videotapes of the murders.

        • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 8:31 PM

          @ Shmuel: So you believe that the killing of 3 Jewish boys justifies the murder of 7 Palestinians, the arrest of 500 Palestinians most of whom had nothing to do with the crime, & the ransacking of thousands of private homes by 10,000 IDF troops. You think all of this was done solely to solve the crime? If you do, I have a bridge to sell you.

          Of course the murders of the boys was a heinous crime that deserved to be solved. But collective publishment is not criminology. It’s vengeance pure & simply. And if you take vengeance on Palestinians they’re going to take vengeance on you. That’s what the rockets were. And if you continue the war more Israelis will die (I only refer to Israelis since I realize the deaths of Palestinians are purely a secondary matter to you).

  • Shmuel August 23, 2014, 10:57 AM

    And now Hamas has admitted to the murder which until now you wanted not to accept

    • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 1:49 PM

      @ Shmuel: False. Meshal said that the killers had some unspecified affiliation with Hamas, but that neither he nor any other leader knew about the operation till after it happened. “Hamas” did not know about, nor was it responsible for the kidnapping & murders. As has been reported right from the beginning, renegade Hamasniks took the law in their own hands & engaged in an act of terror.

      History is full of incidents in which individuals or small groups acted on their own, sometimes w/o the knowledge of others with whom they’re affiliated, and upset the course of history. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand is but one example.

      YOu’re the fourth commenter making this false claim. The next commenter who says Hamas admitted responsibility for the kidnapping will be moderated.

      • Daniel August 23, 2014, 2:57 PM

        You should really get up to date with the news. Nobody’s talking about what Mashel said. Here you go, have a nice read – http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.611676

        And best of luck moderating reality!!!
        (maybe you can declare your blog as a reality-free zone)

        • Richard Silverstein August 23, 2014, 5:05 PM

          @Daniel: I’ve already rebutted this 4 separate times in the threads here. & told the next person who published this claim lacking in credibility, they’d be moderated. Mazel tov, it’s yr lucky day. Instead of being reality-free, we’ll be hasbara-free or at least Daniel-free.

          Some guy claiming to be a Hamas leader exiled in Turkey makes a claim (whose video quality is almost indecipherable) that Hamas was responsible (being in Turkey how would he know?), then almost in the same breath corrects himself & says the opposite. That’s highly credible as you are.

    • Danish August 24, 2014, 11:32 AM
  • poirefrais August 23, 2014, 12:08 PM

    Thank you for this report, Richard.
    I couldn’t help wondering, how the tracing of phone calls by Israel wouldn’t have been a major concern, and how this could have happened, considering the stringent security measures needed and taken by Hamas.
    It is unfathomable, to me, unless there were other ‘forces’ operating, at the time.
    I had no doubt Israel was planning an escalation during these so-called ‘ceasefire negotiations’, and I am not alone in that.
    This, was an opportunistic exploitive action, once more. There is no end, apparently, to the deception and contrivances, designed by IDF and it’s manipulation of events on the ground and it’s intentions.
    I see no change in this and the atrocities continue.
    I have read about Netanyahu ‘outraged’ at the possibility facing ICC charges, and his blame charade.
    I have seen reports of Netanyahu – perhaps, with the help, again, of financial/military backer, the U.S. – escaping accountability ..
    I hope this will not be the case.

  • Imran Kahn August 23, 2014, 1:01 PM

    [comment deleted: I do so love it when hasbarists attempt wit & it falls as flat as a day-old open soda can. For that feeble, stupid, offensive attempt at wit, you’re moderated.]

  • poirefrais August 23, 2014, 2:29 PM

    Today, August 23 – Seattle, WA.
    http://blocktheboatnw.wordpress.com/
    Not directly re: the post but Gaza assault-siege/Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) action relevant.

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