Israel: Alternate Realities


January22, 2007: The struggle between Israel and Palestinians grinds on towards nowhere in particular. The situation has become so chaotic in Gaza that many fewer aid workers and journalists will go there. Those that do, often demand, and get, security details from the various militias. This is necessary to avoid kidnappings. At least 18 foreign journalists and aid workers have been kidnapped in Gaza in the last year. They were released within hours, or days, and were grabbed for ransom, or as a bargaining tactic in a feud with an aid organization, or other Palestinian faction. The chaos in Gaza has led to the impoverishment of most of the population. While the Israeli economy grows, the Palestinians see business activity evaporate. No law, no order, no foreign aid. Hamas will not compromise its belief that the only thing that matters is destroying Israel. Some aid donors are working around this, but the lack of order in Gaza makes delivering aid risky. Hamas is on a mission from God, and believes that leftist governments in the West will find a way to live with the Hamas position on Israel and resume aid. In the meantime, cash from Persian Gulf countries keeps Hamas afloat, and preparations go forward for a major attack on Israel. Hamas was inspired by Hizbollahs attack on Israel last Summer, and wants to emulate that action. Fatah threatens to hold new elections, which Hamas would probably lose. Hamas is prepared to oppose that with violence.

January 21, 2007: Despite the two month "cease fire", seven more rockets were fired from Gaza, into Israel. There were no injuries. The Palestinians consider this keeping the truce, because fewer rockets are being fired than before the truce. The truce agreement stipulated no more rockets. This flexibility with agreements is one reason Israelis despair of ever making peace with the Palestinians.

January 20, 2007: Hamas is responding to foreign governments that cut off aid, or declaring Hamas a terrorist organization (and outlawing fund raising), by threatening these governments with the status of "an enemy of the Arab people", and, by implication, attacks by Islamic terrorists.

January 19, 2007: Israel agreed to cancel plans to build more settler housing in the West Bank. About ten percent of the 2.7 million people in the West Bank are Israeli settlers. Ultra nationalist Israelis believe the West Bank is part of Israel, and want Israel to make it so. The ultra nationalists have enough votes to force the government to allow the settlements, and pay attention to the issue.

January 18, 2007: Israel released $100 million to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is the leader of Fatah, the only major opposition to Hamas in the Palestinian territories. The money was Palestinian taxes (customs and sales tax) collected by Israel, but withheld since Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament, and the Palestinian government. Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and Israel could not justify handing over the money to them. Israel has made a deal with Fatah, to provide money, weapons and technical advice, in the hope that Fatah will win the next elections, and continue peace negotiations. Hamas is not interested in making peace with Israel. Fatah, however, is a corrupt and untrustworthy organization. They are, however, seen as preferable to Hamas.

January 17, 2007: A feud among Palestinian terrorist groups revealed that the Israeli soldier seized last June, is being held by Hamas alone, not a coalition of three terrorist groups. Hamas is trying to get Israel to release over a a thousand Palestinian terrorists from prison, in return for the captive soldier. Israel doesn't want to put so many terror suspects back on the street, where many will try to kill Israelis, and some will succeed.

January 16, 2007: The head of the army, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, resigned. He was under pressure because of the outcome of last Summer's war with Hizbollah. Hamas has tried to portray itself as a moderating influence on Palestinian terrorists, not a ringleader and instigator.


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