January 3, 2012: There is a split in the leadership of the Islamic political parties in Egypt. Some have been telling Western diplomats that the Islamic parties will honor the peace treaty with Israel. But more opportunistic Islamic politicians want to conduct a referendum in Egypt on whether the peace treaty with Israel should continue. Since anti-Israeli propaganda has been intense for decades, the popular attitude is decidedly anti-Israel. Most Egyptian politicians realize that hostile relations with Israel are not in Egypt's best interest. But ambitious and reckless Egyptian politicians see public hostility to Israel as a way to gain power. While the Islamic parties are gaining most of the votes in Egyptian elections, these parties are divided and that will make it difficult for the Islamic parties to form a government and rule the country.
The recent peace deal between Hamas (which runs a religious dictatorship in Gaza) and Fatah (which runs a very corrupt "democracy" in the West Bank) is not really working. Fatah and Hamas continue to persecute each other's activists in territory they control.
Palestinians refuse to meet with Israeli peace negotiators without preconditions (mainly a halt to construction by Jews in West Bank communities). Palestinian media (especially the Arab language version) makes it clear that the Palestinians have no interest in negotiating a real peace with Israel, but instead use anything surrounding peace talks to weaken Israel, and ultimately destroy Israel and drive all Jews from the region. At least that's the published Palestinian plan.
Israel and the newly independent South Sudan have become allies, an arrangement sealed by the recent visit of the South Sudan president to Israel. For years, Israel quietly aided the South Sudan rebels, who are largely Christians or animists. Last year, South Sudan became a separate state and apparently Israeli aid (which has to come in via Kenya) has increased as a result. Israeli has long been on good terms with Kenya and most non-Moslem African nations. Israel and non-Moslem African nations have a common enemy in Islam, and especially radical Islam. As Islamic radicals have become more active in the past four decades, these alliances with Israel have become more popular in Africa.
January 2, 2012: Israeli police conducted several raids into the West Bank and arrested 14 Palestinian terrorism suspects. Weapons and documents were also seized.
January 1, 2012: Israeli defense officials believe that the Assad family only has a few weeks left in power in Syria. Israel believes that the fall of the Assads would be a major defeat for Iran, which used its Syrian ally as a base for supporting pro-Iran Hezbollah in Lebanon.
December 30, 2011: An Israeli air strike in Gaza, in response to continued rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, killed a senior leader of Jund Ansar al-Sunna, one of the many Islamic terror groups that have found sanctuary in Gaza. These more radical groups accuse Hamas of going soft and challenge Hamas political power in Gaza. Hamas has refused to use violence to eliminate these more radical groups (which would mean civil war), and thus tolerates their terror attacks on Israel. In response to that, Israel says it plans to make another major move into Gaza to inflict some serious damage on the more radical groups there.
Israel responds to each rocket or mortar attack with air raids against known terrorist targets. In addition, Israeli aircraft and ground observers (sometimes using remotely controlled cameras) monitor frequently used rocket launching sites in northern Gaza. This increasingly leads to rocket launching teams being spotted and then fired on.
December 29, 2011: More rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. There have been five such attacks on Israel in the last few days.
Israeli police arrested six Israelis in the West Bank and charged them with collecting information on army and police movements and passing it on to settler groups that are operating illegal settlements in the West Bank. This way the outlaw settlers can avoid arrest. Religious and political extremists are becoming more active, and more of a problem, in Israel.
December 25, 2011: Sudanese media reported that Israeli aircraft had bombed truck convoys in November and December that were carrying weapons being smuggled into Egypt and headed for Hamas in Gaza. Iran has long used Sudan to get weapons to Gaza. The Sudanese military refuses to admit that Israeli aircraft are operating over northern Sudan, but the Sudanese don't really have the means to prevent it.
December 23, 2011: The Israeli Defense Ministry cancelled export permits on $141 million worth of military exports to Turkey. This is a major shift in export policy. Despite years of growing hostility from Turkey, Israel still permitted military aid. But now that has changed.