WikiLeaks Revelations on Israel
The latest media-barnstorm by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange reveals the private concerns and assessments of Israel's intelligence services, the Guardian reports.
The documents on Israel and the Middle East come as Assange agreed to be interviewed by the Hebrew-language Yedidot Acharonot this week to defend his organization from charges of anti-Semitism.
According to the cables,
Israel Forecasted Mideast Upheaval in 2007
Classified documents from 2007 – long before unrest swept though the Mideast – revealed Director of Military Intelligence Major-General Amos Yadlin had told Americans that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is unlikely to survive another war with Israel.
Mossad Chief Meir Dagan echoed the sentiment at the time, further expressing his concern over the instability of several Middle East regimes.
Dagan intimated the Israel's security community felt that the regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon were unstable – an assessment proved right in early 2011.
Tantawi Obdurate On Arms Smuggling
Mohammed Tantawi, the head of the interim junta ruling Egypt who has expressed solidarity with the Palestinian Authority, was an obstacle to efforts to stop arms smuggling within the Gaza strip, according to Israeli security forces in 2009. The cables also revealed praise for former Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Suleiman, who was described as "supportive".
Egypt is the primary route for weapons and munitions into the Gaza strip, and the US has been facilitating co-operation between Israel and Egypt to tackle this for several years. Israel routinely bombs smuggling tunnels transiting the southern Gaza boundary in retaliatory strikes.
The King of Bahrain, whose Sunni-ruled Arab state has recently been shaken by Shiite protests, has had friendly links with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. The US learned of the contacts during a private conversation between US ambassador, William Monroe, and King Hamad of Bahrain in the king's palace on 15 February 2005.
Monroe reported back to Washington: "He [the king] revealed that Bahrain already has contacts with Israel at the intelligence/security level (ie [sic] with Mossad) and indicated that Bahrain will be willing to move forward in other areas."
Such cooperation is not overly surprising in light of tenion between Sunni-Arab states and Shiite Iran in the Persian Gulf. The Mossad has had back-channel contact with Arab counterparts, most notably Morocco and Jordan (prior to the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty) in the past.
Hizbullah Ready To Slam Israel With 400-600 Rockets Per Day
Hizbullah's mounting capability to strike directly at Tel Aviv rests on an arsenal of more than 20,000 missiles.
Israeli intelligence chiefs briefed their US counterparts during a regular Joint Political Military Group (JPMG) session on November18, 2009 about the scale of potential Hizbullah attacks from Lebanon when hostilities next erupt between Iran's Shiite terror proxy and the Jewish State.
Washington was told, "Hizbullah possesses over 20,000 rockets ... Hizbullah was preparing for a long conflict with Israel in which it hopes to launch a massive number of rockets at Israel per day. A Mossad official estimated that Hizbullah will try to launch 400-600 rockets and missiles at Israel per day – 100 of which will be aimed at Tel Aviv. He noted that Hizbullah is looking to sustain such launches for at least two months."
Israeli Leaders Muddled On Gaza
Other cables detail secret talks between Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin and US diplomats over the role of Hamas in Gaza. On November 12, 2009 the embassy reported the views of Major General Yoav Galant, then head of Israel's Southern Command, that Hamas needed to be "strong enough to enforce a ceasefire."
Galant told the Americans: "Israel's political leadership has not yet made the necessary policy choices among competing priorities: a short-term priority of wanting Hamas to be strong enough to enforce the de facto ceasefire and prevent the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel; a medium priority of preventing Hamas from consolidating its hold on Gaza; and a longer-term priority of avoiding a return of Israeli control of Gaza and full responsibility for the well being of Gaza's civilian population."
Galant was to be made Israel's chief of defense staff earlier this year, but the appointment was canceled due to scandal.
Arab-Israeli Leaders Flirting With The Enemy
Diskin also offered the Americans the Shin Beth's stance on the of Israeli Arabs, of whom he said many "have taken their liberties too far."
Diskin said some Israeli-Arab leaders see themselves as Arabs and Muslims first, and Israeli citizens last. He also criticized Arab MKs, saying they were "flirting with the enemy."
He allegedly said "…these people don’t spread Israel's democratic values and principles, and abuse their diplomatic immunity." He also attributed the problem to Arab refugees who returned to Israel and "brought bad ideas" with them.
The Shin Bet Chief was quoted as having criticized the Israel Police in the documents, saying it was their "incompetence" that forced the Shin Bet to involve itself in former Balad Chairman Azmi Bishara's supposed espionage case, saying his organization "would welcome him back to Israel."
Bishara fled Israel in 2007, and is facing a lengthy prison sentence should he return.