Hamas has established its own
court , but insists it will not impose Sharia (Islamic law) in Gaza. Most Palestinians are too liberal
for that. Hamas continues to allow terrorists to fire at southern Israel,
including the border crossings where food and medical aid is transferred. The
sniping and mortar shelling usually stops as the food and medicine is
transferred, but resumes later, especially at night. As far as the Israelis are
concerned, Hamas is unreliable, unstable, relentlessly hostile and impossible
to negotiate with. Hamas says it simply wants to destroy Israel. All will be
well after that.
July 21, 2007:Syria will not even discuss
peace with Israel unless Israel first withdraws from the Golan Heights. Syria is receiving generous support from
Iran, in its efforts to rebuild its armed forces (which have wasted away after
a decade of shrinking budgets). Syria believes that the Christian and Sunni
Moslem majority in Lebanon will eventually be forced to give the Shia minority
(about 40 percent of the population) veto power in the government. Hizbollah
already controls the largely Shia south, and has bullied the UN peacekeepers
July 20, 2007: Israel believes that Hamas has
greatly increased its weapons smuggling efforts from Egypt in the last month.
This, despite Egyptian efforts to crack down on this. Apparently, the Egyptians
made a deal, to get Hamas to shut down Islamic terrorist operations aimed at
Egypt. That would explain the 20 tons of explosives, plus many other weapons,
that Hamas has smuggled in during the last month. Normally, it would take over
a year to sneak that much explosives in.
July 19, 2007:Israeli troops regularly
operate in northern Gaza, trying to interfere with Hamas rocket launching
teams. Hamas sends gunmen to try and interfere with the Israeli operations. So
now there's a low level war going on in northern Gaza, and fears that Israel
will simply invade and take control of Gaza.
Hamas now has over 10,000 armed men, and a growing arsenal of rockets
that can be fired into southern Israel.
Many Hamas supporters see a future joint offensive, with Hizbollah
rockets coming from southern Lebanon, and Hamas rockets from Gaza. This would
not accomplish anything, except a lot of damage to southern Lebanon and Gaza.
But this is the kind of thinking that keeps Palestinians in good spirits.
Israel wants to avoid a large scale war in Gaza.
July 18, 2007:Israel has granted amnesty to
the entire leadership of the Fatal affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. This
group has taken carried out more terror attacks against Israel since 2005, than
any other groups, particularly Hamas.
Over 200 members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades did not receive
amnesty, and protection from counter-terrorism operations, because they are
still believed to be planning attacks on Israel. But this new deal will make it
much easier for Israel to deal with the Palestinian terrorists in the West
Bank, even those affiliated with Hamas. The freeing of prisoners is also
supposed to improve the image of Fatah. Not much luck there. Most Palestinians
still consider Fatah a bunch of thieves and incompetents.
July 17, 2007: A Hamas official in the
Palestinian government was released from Israeli jail, after the official
agreed to quit Hamas and work with Fatah in the West Bank. Israel also agreed
to release 256 Palestinian prisoners, in order to give Fatah a PR boost in the
July 16, 2007: The government wants to resume
distributing gas masks to individual citizens, a program that was halted four
years ago because of the expense, and seeming lack of threat. But now, Hamas is
believed eventually capable to making a chemical attack inside Israel.
Hizbollah is also believed interested in this sort of thing, using chemical
weapons obtained from Syria or Iran. The gas masks would not protect against
the most common gas (mustard, which burns the skin, or lungs) or the most
lethal (nerve gas, which can get in via the skin.)