How the “New York Times” Divulged Vital Israeli Secrets

Last month, a scandal broke out when it became public knowledge that President Trump shared with the Russian foreign minister highly classified information—provided by Israel—about Islamic State’s plans to get bombs onto airplanes. The president was soon accused of jeopardizing Israeli and American intelligence operations against Islamic State (IS) by providing specifics about intelligence-gathering to an unfriendly nation.

What specifics in particular? Relying on information provided off-the-record by current and former U.S. officials, the New York Times undertook to disclose them. Israel, it reported, had been conducting an extremely sophisticated cyber-intelligence operation against IS that gave it access to detailed information about terror plots.

Now that this information has been published, writes Elliott Abrams, IS will surely be able to identify and guard against the “tool” that Israel is using to spy on its operations. Other countries, too, will likely be able to protect themselves against similar espionage, forcing Jerusalem to cease making use of a piece of software that likely took years to develop and could have otherwise yielded much more vital information.

It’s hard to tell how much damage was done, [by the president’s comments to his Russian guests], because he did not reveal how the information [about IS] was acquired. That task was left to the New York Times and to the American officials who leaked highly classified information to the Times. Those officials committed a crime. . . .

I don’t know whether the president’s disclosure infuriated Israelis, [as the Times reports], but I know that the Times’s unprincipled and irresponsible disclosure damaged not only Israel but our own safety. It helped IS. . . .

The officials who leaked to the Times leaked information of the highest sensitivity and classification, which is why I called it a crime. That leak, and the decision of the Times to print the story, endangers Israeli security and American security. To what end? What is achieved? . . .  [I]t’s just a small part of a campaign against Trump. And it seems advancing that cause, for the leakers and the newspaper, trumps our security and that of an ally.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Cyberwarfare, Donald Trump, Intelligence, ISIS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, New York Times

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations