Ripping the curtains open on Israel’s targeted killings. What say you?

Ripping the curtains open on Israel’s targeted killings
Review: Dr. Ronen Bergman’s ‘Rise and Kill First’ shines a spotlight on some of the more shadowy parts of Israel’s history, from the successful hits on Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh and Fatah’s Abu Jihad, to the botched and aborted attempts to kill Arafat; a must-read for those with a keen interest in Israeli history and the world of espionage.

A magician never reveals his tricks. And so, Israel’s intelligence agencies – the Mossad, the Shin Bet and the Military Intelligence Directorate – have kept their tricks closely guarded over the years. Some details inevitably emerged, and Israel received credit – or blame – for countless of clandestine operations against its enemies. But on the whole, Israel’s spies kept mum and more information remained under wraps than saw the light of day.

That is, until now.

In his new book “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations,” Dr. Ronen Bergman not so much as provides a peek behind the curtain as he rips the curtain open for all to see.


Eight years in the making, the book recounts the history of the State of Israel through the eyes of its spies. Its tales – some more known than others – are based on interviews with some 1,000 individuals who had a hand in creating, fostering and immortalizing Israel’s reputation as a deadly and cunning adversary that could get to its enemies anytime, anywhere. Bergman’s interviewees also provided him with countless of documents – not all of which they were allowed to take from their top secret places of employment – to support and augment their stories.


Imad Mughniyeh

Imad Mughniyeh


And so Bergman expertly shines a spotlight on some of the more shadowy parts of Israel’s history. From the early days of the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine, under first Othman and later British rule, to the present day.


Even erudite readers who make it their business to know all there is to know about Israel’s 70-year history will undoubtedly find much to sink their teeth into.


In this lengthy tome, Bergman uncovers and dissects the highs and lows of Israel’s “negative treatment” operations: those that were a great success as well as those that failed spectacularly and led to disastrous results.


Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin (Photo: AP)

Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin (Photo: AP)


The book covers all of Israel’s “greatest hits” (do excuse the pun): From Fatah co-founder Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) and PFLP leader Wadie Haddad to Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin and Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyeh. Other notable assassinations include Hezbollah secretary-general Abbas al-Musawi (Hassan Nasrallah’s predecessor), Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shaqaqi, Hamas’s ‘Engineer’ Yahya Ayyash and Syrian general Muhammad Suleiman, Assad’s chief advisor.


Hamas’s ‘Engineer’ Yahya Ayyash

Hamas’s ‘Engineer’ Yahya Ayyash

Some lesser known names appear as well, as the book details Israel’s efforts to sabotage the unconventional weapons programs of Iraq, Syria and Iran by killing its scientists and blowing up reactors (or rather, reactors-in-the-making), and the targeted killing campaign against Hamas that put an end to the second intifada.


Of the latter category the book delves into the botched operation in Lillehammer, Norway, when the Mossad meant to kill a master terrorist who was behind the Munich massacre but instead assassinated an innocent pool cleaner, as well as the tale of why Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, who was at death’s door after being poisoned by the Mossad, still walks among us today.


Khaled Mashal, survived an assassination attempt (Photo: AFP)

Khaled Mashal, survived an assassination attempt (Photo: AFP)


Bergman painstakingly explores the numerous failed or aborted attempts to kill PLO leader Yasser Arafat, but falls short of making any kind of determination on whether the death of one of Israel’s biggest foes was a natural one or foul play (the reason for that, conversely, is the all-mighty military censor, which won’t let Bergman even hazard an educated guess).


Yasser Arafar (Photo: Camera Press)

Yasser Arafar (Photo: Camera Press)


But Bergman doesn’t settle for glorifying Israel’s intelligence community. He highlights and criticizes the bad decision-making when it led to catastrophic results and even when “the target has been eliminated, but the operation failed,” as former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter put it after the assassination of Hamas military leader Salah Shehade was successful, but it claimed the lives of a dozen innocents.


“Rise and Kill First” also examines the issue of morality when it comes to targeted killings. Bergman describes at great length the discussions behind decisions to go ahead or abort certain missions – including several missed golden opportunities to kill Arafat – due to the risk of endangering innocent people. Further discussions revolve around the legality of assassinations, and whether they should serve solely as a tool to prevent future harm to Israel and its citizens, or perhaps also serve as punitive action against those who have already committed heinous acts against Israelis and Jews.


While the book is undoubtedly comprehensive, it was still missing some assassinations. One such assassination conspicuous by its absence is that of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari, who played a part in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 and led the terror group’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and whose liquidation in 2012 was the opening shot of Operation Pillar of Defense.


Also missing was the story behind the January 2015 airstrike that killed Imad Mughniyeh’s son, Jihad, as well as a general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi; the December 2015 assassination of Samir Kuntar; and the December 2016 attack that claimed the life of Hamas drone maker Mohamed Zouari in Tunisia – all attributed to Israel.


The assassination of Samir Kuntar (Photo: EPA)

The assassination of Samir Kuntar (Photo: EPA)


But these omissions were not for lack of trying. Bergman, who studied history at Cambridge, doesn’t do brevity – his book is almost 800 pages long, making it an extremely comprehensive account of Israel’s targeted killing as it is. It was not for lack of sources, either. Indeed, Tamir Prado, who was the director of the Mossad until 2016, noted that “Bergman’s ability to reach sources inside Western intelligence communities is amazing (and, I must say, also a little disturbing).”


His leadership and television interviews have gone trough out the world. Luden Centeno of Converso Marano Jewish background from Spain resides permanently in Jerusalem. His analysis of Middle Eastern events as they relate to Israel is regularly broadcast through internet radio and television through out the world, especially the USA. Luden has given close to 500 television interviews in Israel Jerusalem and broadcasts live from Jerusalem Israel on the radio. On our last 6 radio programs we have had over 500,00 listeners listening in. Our main goal is to educate the world about Israel and its right to protect herself from any form of terrorism that comes out of Ramallah and the occupied territories that belong to Israel. Israel faces many challenges and dangers since a very long time. There is an unprecedented propaganda campaign initiated by the Arab League to demonize, discredit and delegitimize the Jewish people and their state, within their own land! The efforts of the Arab League were recently seen in the UN Resolution 2334 text as follows, adopted by the UN Security Council at its 7853rd meeting, on 23 December 2016. Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008), guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions. In order to achieve their goals, the Arabs have for more than 30 years resorted to a deliberate misinformation campaign. This propaganda campaign by the Arab League – both in their own countries and for the last three decades exported to Europe and North America has caused Israel what would seem irreparable damage and indeed, it was the main culprit in the reawakening of dormant European anti-Semitism. Israel continues to suffer many attacks from terrorists and should not bow down under the pressure imposed by the USA, the EU. the Quartet, nor the UN. The former Obama administration was working behind the scenes to get UN Resolution 2334 to pass. even while allowing Iran to continue to develop their nuclear facilities by using John Kerry and others to fulfill their hidden agenda. On December 23rd 2016 the US abstained from exercising its veto to UN resolution 2334 which allowed it to pass. Then John Kerry immediately blasted Israel over the presence of Israeli settlements within Israel's own land. The Obama Administration's hidden agenda came to light. The former Obama administration was trying to force Israel to give up more land for false peace as we have seen in the past. Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley were on the negotiating table. For perspective, if the so-called Palestinians obtained Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley, Givat HaRoe’eh in the Samaria community of Eli, Ramat Gilad and Giv’at Assaf (also in Samaria), and Mitzpeh Lachish, near Nehogot outside Hebron. they could easily rain down rockets towards any city within Israel, leaving without defensible borders. We say no to land for false peace as we have seen in the past. By former President Barrack Hussein Obama who had a hidden agenda against Israel who will face many difficult challenges ahead (see Tehillim / See Psalms 83) As we have seen what happened with Gush Katif where almost 9,000 Jews were forced out of their own Jewish land due to US pressure, now Bet El Almuna and Migron and Judea and Samaria face the same threat. More than 17,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel uprooted 9,000 Jewish families. Over 11,000 were fired from Gaza towards the southern Israeli city of Sderot by Islamist extremist whose end-game is the total destruction of my people Israel. Hamas terrorists are supported by Iran and now Hamas has joined hands with Fatah. The Iranian Lebanese proxy Hezbollah who also operate in Syria are committed to the total destruction of Israel and has over 100,00 rockets aimed at Israel .Now Al Qaeda and ISIS who are operating in Syria Egypt and the Sinai Desert they will do anything in their power to destroy my people Israel and all Jews. Judea and Samaria (the heartland of Israel also known as the West Bank) face many challenges in the days to come as Abu Mazen will try to pressure the entire world and former US President Barrack Hussein Obama the UN the EU and the Quartet into giving more land for false peace. We saw what happened after the Oslo Accords were signed, dramatically increasing Islamic terror against Israel. Abu Mazen the fake Palestinian Authority leader approached the United Nations many times and has petitioned to be declared as a recognized nation within Israel's known borders. The time has come to tell the entire world the real truth about the enemies of Israel. We speak on the Quran using a Power Point video presentation. We have been aired on CNN, German TV, Finland TV, CCTV, China Al Jazera, Al Arabiya Turk TV and many radio stations on the current issues of Israel. Luden Centeno has a heart for his people Israel and will continue to inform the entire world the real truth as many News Media outlets throughout the world hold anti-Semitic views and won’t tell you the real truth. Centeno, a former police officer who studied Political Science at Temple University USA was born in the USA and currently lives in Jerusalem Israel, knowing karate and boxing having played semi-pro baseball. He has two children, a girl and a son, both born in Jerusalem. Centeno discovered in 2004 that there were possible Converso Marrano Jews from Spain whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition in 1492. The family names Centeno and Perez are registered in El Libro Verde De Aragon in Spain. The Roman Catholic Inquisitors maintained all the names of all Jewish families who were forced to convert to Catholicism during that horrible time period in Spain. Since 2004 Centeno has been flying intercontinentally to the USA speaking to the nations on the current issues of the the state of Israel (see Psalms 83′ as the nations gather against Israel.) He has spoken on Al Arabiya TV, Dubai TV, Holland TV, German TV and also on American Family Radio which links up with 700 radio stations. His goal is to educate the entire world that Israel has the right to self-determination and the right to defend itself from terrorism. The Moslem Arabs in that area started calling themselves “Palestinians” merely only 40 years ago. “Palestinian” refers to people who live in Palestine: Arabs (“Arabic speaking peoples”), Bedouins, Druze, Christians, and Jews lived in then the British Mandate of Palestine. No people or nation called Palestine ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land. There is no Palestinian language or culture in past history. Palestine, as a country does not presently exist. No Arab nation has their historical roots on the land and no one had laid claim to this territory other than the Jews. The Jewish rule of this land extended over a period of over 2000 years. Israel became a nation in the land in 1312 BC. God gave them the land in a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20) and they lived there. See the following Quote from the Quran, "Death to the enemies of Allah! Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is..." This is what radical Islam says about us Jews’ “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim) Psalms Chapter 83 תְּהִלִּים א שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף. 1 A Song, a Psalm of Asaph. ב אֱלֹהִים אַל-דֳּמִי-לָךְ; אַל-תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל-תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל. 2 O God, keep not Thou silence; hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. ג כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ, יֶהֱמָיוּן; וּמְשַׂנְאֶיךָ, נָשְׂאוּ רֹאשׁ. 3 For, lo, Thine enemies are in an uproar; and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. ד עַל-עַמְּךָ, יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד; וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ, עַל-צְפוּנֶיךָ. 4 They hold crafty converse against Thy people, and take counsel against Thy treasured ones. ה אָמְרוּ–לְכוּ, וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי; וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד. 5 They have said: ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.’ ו כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו; עָלֶיךָ, בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ. 6 For they have consulted together with one consent; against Thee do they make a covenant; God’s word says in Zechariah 8:23 "Thus saith the LORD of Hosts: In Those days it shall come to pass, That ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

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