When it comes to Palestinians, Israel prefers the corrupt to the
fanatic. Thus Israel is backing Fatah in the civil war with Hamas. Both of
these organizations support terrorism against Israel, and the destruction of
Israel. But Hamas is more open about it and, worse yet, a closer ally of Iran
and al Qaeda. As bad as Fatah is for Israel, Hamas makes Fatah look good by
comparison. Until a year ago, Hamas appeared to be a growing menace in Gaza,
where 1.4 Palestinians live in an area of 363 square kilometers, but not much
of a threat in the West Bank, where 2.4 million Palestinians live in 5,500 square
kilometers, and Fatah still was in firm control. Then came the elections a year
ago, and Fatah found out that many West Bankers were fed up, and voted for
Hamas, and gave Hamas a majority in parliament, and the right to form a new
government. Fatah still controlled the presidency, and most of the civil
servants (most of whom where in a dozen different security forces). Because
Hamas openly supported the destruction of Israel (something Fatah only said in
Arabic, while Hamas would say it in Hebrew and English), financial support from
Western countries was cut off. The civil servants could not be paid, and that
insured that most of them remained loyal to Fatah, or at least not favorably
disposed towards Hamas.
not only had financial problems, but military ones as well. Gaza and the West
Bank were physically separated by Israeli territory. Gaza is surrounded by a
very effective security fence (no terrorists have ever gotten out of Gaza and
into Israel, which is why a similar fence is being built between the West Bank
and Israel.) Since Israel withdrew from Gaza sixteen months ago, Palestinians
have been able to carry weapons freely, and they do. Most of the 4,000
Palestinian casualties during that period have been in Gaza. In the West Bank,
the Israelis still control security, and Hamas supporters rarely carry weapons.
When they do, they risk prompt and effective attack by Israeli troops. But the
Fatah controlled West Bank security forces can carry weapons, and they use them
against Hamas. Fatah plans to try and wipe out Hamas in the West Bank, and
weaken it in Gaza.
Fatah edge in the West Bank has forced Hamas to restrain itself in Gaza. When
Hamas gunmen hurt a Fatah supporter in Gaza, Fatah responds by doing the same
to a Hamas supporter in the West Bank. All this violence has not been popular,
and Fatah believes that if new elections were held now, Fatah would win back
control of parliament. Hamas seems to recognize this too, and refuses to go
along with new elections. Much violence may ensure before this matter is
most Palestinians still support the less corrupt Hamas, they also recognize
that, while Hamas may be more honest, they are less effective in dealing with
the Israelis, and the Western aid donors. Both Israel and the Western charity
are the cornerstones of the Palestinian economy, which has collapsed since
Fatah and Hamas launched the terror campaign in 2000, and made worse since
Hamas came to power. In the meantime, Israel prospers, and their economy grows.
overnight operations in the West Bank led to the arrest of 21 terrorist
suspects. These included members of Fatah and Hamas.
7, 2007: In 2006, Israeli victims of Palestinian terror attacks were the lowest
since 2000. In 2006, there were two Palestinian attacks in Israel, killing
eleven Israelis. There were also 559 firefights with Palestinians, leading to
the deaths of 130 armed Palestinians, and eight civilian bystanders. The
Palestinians claim more civilians were killed, but the Palestinians have been
caught staging such "deaths," or simply lying about civilian
casualties, so their claims are highly suspect. Israeli counter-terror tactics
have crippled Palestinian terrorist groups.
5, 2007: The Palestinian president, a Fatah member, outlawed the Hamas militia.
This "Executive Force" of some 6,000 men, was formed after Hamas won
control of the government last year. Hamas responded to the presidential order
with a promise to double the size of the force. That was interpreted as a
4, 2007: Palestinian terrorists have tried to employ roadside bombs in the West
Bank, but without much success. Either the Palestinians are caught while
setting up the bomb, or the bomb is later discovered and disabled or destroyed.
Some of these bombs have over a hundred pounds of explosives. In the past year,
Israeli engineers have disarmed or destroyed over 300 Palestinian bombs and
booby traps. An Israeli raid in the West Bank led to a firefight, and the death
of six Palestinians.
3, 2007: The Palestinian rockets continue to be fired from Gaza, but an Israeli
early warning system detects the launches and gives enough warning for people
to take cover. This has kept casualties down, on those few occasions where the
Kassam rockets landed near an inhabited areas. Meanwhile, Iranian trainers are
appearing in a Palestinian video, in a terrorist training camp built in the
ruins of one of the abandoned Israeli settlements in northern Gaza.