: The Arab violence in Israel and the West Bank continues to increase and as a result, the number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons because of terrorist activities has increased about 17 percent in the last few years to some 7,000. Wide scale and persistent anti-Israeli terrorism began after 2000, when the Palestinian leadership (the Fatah controlled PLO) rejected an Israeli peace offer because radicals insisted it was not enough. That began a permanent campaign of Palestinian terrorism against Israel. But by 2005 the Palestinian terrorism campaign had been neutralized (mainly by sealing off the Palestinian territories from Israel), but not before thousands of Israelis had been killed or wounded. There are still some Israeli casualties, but far fewer than on the Palestinian side where even more desperate and poorly planned attacks are carried out.
The violence is encouraged by Arab leaders to distract Palestinians from the more immediate problems of corruption and government incompetence. Palestinians know about these two problems, but would suffer far more (economically and physically) if they protested against their leaders as violently as they do against the Israelis. Palestinian leaders control the many government jobs paid for by aid money and these jobs are a major source of employment. If a Palestinian is identified as an “enemy” he and all his family are going to have a hard time obtaining or holding onto one of these jobs. Many Palestinians are well aware of this and find that they can stay away from the violence Fatah and Hamas still encourage. But it’s easy to get young (especially teenage males) Palestinians fired up because these kids have been raised with Arab media that constantly praises violence against non-Moslems (and especially Israelis) as an admirable and worthy activity. That includes extensive children’s programming on TV for kids of all ages. This is an absurd situation and Israel is making little headway in persuading its critics in the West that the Palestinians do not want peace. What Palestinian internal propaganda (in Palestinian media and in speeches by officials) has been saying for decades and still says is that the Palestinian objective is the destruction of Israel and the death or expulsion of all Jews from the Middle East. More radical Palestinians (and many other Arabs) not only call for all non-Moslems to be killed or expelled but act on that wherever possible (like Syria, Iraq and Egypt.) Pro-Palestinian Westerners keep making up excuses to explain away this religious bigotry but that is wearing thin as the death toll mounts and the Israelis publicize (in detail) the Palestinian media exhortations to violence. Even more embarrassing is the attention now given in Western media to the double talk from Palestinian and Arab leaders, who talk peace to Western audiences while simultaneously continuing to call for death to non-Moslems in Arabic. It’s ironic that the global mass media, which is a recent (in the last few decades) development was quickly recognized by Arab leaders as an excellent way to reach all Moslems, even those who had moved to the West. But that ignored the fact that this international media is available to anyone, and as more and more Westerners translated the messages (or simply looked at the maps and images, which needed no translator) they noted that what Arab leaders were saying in English (and other Western languages) was quite different from what was said in Arabic. For Arab, and especially Palestinian, leaders this exposure is becoming a problem. A lot of financial and political support comes from Westerners who perceive Palestinians as victims, not genocidal aggressors and religious bigots.
In Gaza Hamas has resumed rocket production and since August has test fired dozens of unguided rockets (towards the Mediterranean so as not to violate the ceasefire). Hamas is building some rockets with a range of over 50 kilometers.
Israel expects more attacks on them by Syrian rebels. There have been at least fifteen incidents since March that involved deliberate mortar or gunfire from Syrian rebels. There were over a hundred incidents of accidental fire from the Syrian side, as rebels and government forces fought. The Israelis don’t expect a major offensive, but small groups of Islamic terrorist rebels are expected to attack just for the sake of being able to say they attacked Israel. Meanwhile UN peacekeepers recently revealed details of cooperation they observed between Israel and some Syrian rebels. It’s no secret that
Israeli border guards regularly allow badly wounded Syrians in and send them to Israeli hospitals for medical care. Since 2011 over a thousand Syrians have received such treatment. In 2013 Israel set up a military field hospital on the Golan Heights to deal with the growing number of wounded Syrians coming up to the border seeking care. Israel lets some of these in for treatment but considers doing this long-term a security risk. So the heavily guarded field hospital right near the Syrian border is used to treat all but the most seriously injured (who are transferred to Israeli hospitals
). The new revelations confirmed that some of the wounded appeared (to the peacekeepers) to be rebels and that there were sometimes meetings between Israelis and rebels at these border crossings. All this is nothing new, Israel has long tried to keep communications channels, often secret ones, open with its worst foes. Recently al Nusra
(an al Qaeda affiliate)
took over the border crossings used to transfer the wounded and despite al Nusra being more anti-Israel than the rebels they displaced at that crossing, the cooperation continues.
Israel is trying to negotiate an agreement with the Lebanese Army to jointly go after Sunni terrorists, especially outfits like ISIL
(Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant)
. There is a lot of support among Lebanese officers for such an arrangement, but Hezbollah is very much opposed. At the moment Lebanese hostility towards Hezbollah is at an all-time peak because of Hezbollah support for the Assad government of Syria. The thousands of Hezbollah gunmen who have gone to fight for Assad in Syria has reduced Hezbollah credibility as a champion of Lebanon and determined foe of Israel. Many Lebanese now see Hezbollah as a puppet of Iran and not really looking out for Lebanon.
In northern Egypt police revealed that since October 28th they had destroyed over 60 smuggling tunnels from Gaza. Some were built recently, after Egypt created a 500 meter wide security zone along the Gaza border. All buildings and civilians were removed from this 14 kilometers long zone. Four of the Gaza tunnels found recently were over 1,500 meters long and one was 2,000 meters. Egypt also continues to battle Islamic terrorists in Sinai and Moslem Brotherhood protests throughout Egypt, especially every Friday (the day most Moslems go to a mosque to pray and hear a sermon). Many of the Moslem clergy back the Moslem Brotherhood and preach resistance to the restoration of corrupt military rule. That is what is happening, to the surprise of no one who knows Egyptian history. The 2011 uprising pushed the Mubarak government out of power but did nothing to the thousands of wealthy families that actually run Egypt and long benefitted from Mubarak rule (in return for loyalty and support). When the Moslem Brotherhood got elected to form a government they made the mistake of giving into their radical faction and trying to impose Islamic law on all Egyptians. This was very unpopular and the Moslem Brotherhood was overthrown by another popular uprising in 2013. Then another (like Mubarak) military man was elected president and it was back to business as usual. One side effect of that was court recently dismissing most of the charges against Mubarak who is now apparently going to escape any real punishment. That decision brought more protestors out every Friday, but not enough to overthrow the new military government. Most Egyptians was to see if the new government can get the economy going and restore order. The new government probably will, but at the cost of any real efforts to curb corruption.
The Islamic terrorist violence in Egypt continues to leave a dozen or more people dead and 50-100 arrested each week, most of them terrorists. This is a war of attrition that may see several thousand more deaths before it is all over. That is in addition to the 1,400 who have already died since the Egyptian war on Islamic terrorism began in mid-2013. Also since that time Egypt has been receiving massive economic aid from the Arab oil states. Saudi Arabia has been particularly generous sending $5 billion in aid (most of in the form of oil) during the last 15 months. This aid has been essential to keeping many Egyptians from getting mad enough to back the Islamic terrorists. The security forces continue to be very aggressive in northern Gaza, conducting raids and patrols regularly and always finding some Islamic terrorists activity and often roadside bombs and armed resistance as well.
Egyptian hostility towards Islamic terrorists, especially those based in Gaza, has led to Egypt halting its efforts to broker peace talks between Israel and Hamas. The shutdown of cooperation is another side effect of the October 24th Islamic terrorist attack in Sinai that killed 32 Egyptian soldiers. Hamas still refuses to accept any responsibility despite lots of evidence that some of the attackers had support from groups in Gaza. Even Fatah took advantage of this by openly supporting Egyptian efforts to shut down the tunnels from Gaza into Egypt. The Hamas response to all this was to again accuse Fatah of secretly being allied with Israel.
The United States and the UN are trying to persuade Egypt, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Qatar to drop their support for more secular (and non-terrorist) factions fighting in Libya. The UN is sponsoring peace talks in Libya but Egypt sees this as futile and counterproductive because the Islamic terrorist factions really have no interest in compromising. Egypt also recently imposed curbs on men age 18-40 travelling to Libya or Turkey. This is an effort to reduce the number of Egyptians from joining ISIL and other Islamic terrorist groups.
December 12, 2014: In the West Bank thousands of Palestinian supporters of Hamas marched to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the founding (by Palestinian members of the Moslem Brotherhood) of Hamas. Fatah controlled police arrested several of the Hamas supporters. In response to these arrests Hamas leadership in Gaza accused Fatah of collaborating with Israel. Actually Fatah now preaches the same “Israel must be destroyed” line that Hamas has long used and arrests Hamas members in the West Bank in self-defense. Hamas has openly encouraged its members in the West Bank to overthrow Fatah and enable Hamas to be the leader of all Palestinians. Thus it was no surprise that Palestinian police tried to interfere with the pro-Hamas celebration, including the destruction of a stage to be used by Hamas speakers. Elsewhere in the West bank a Palestinian man threw acid at four Israeli girls and then tried to attack other Israelis with a screwdriver. An Israeli man drew a pistol and shot the attacker in the legs, halting the attack. There were no serious injuries from the acid and the attacker was arrested and treated in a hospitals.
In Gaza two bombs went off outside the walls of a compound containing a French cultural center. The center has been closed since a bombing in early October started a fire that did serious damage. Gaza police believe this was the work of one of the more radical groups in Gaza that believe all non-Moslems, even ones who are pro-Palestinian, must be driven from the Middle East.
In Greece gunmen rode by the Israeli embassy and used two AK-47s to fire at least 54 bullets at the embassy. There were no injuries and Greek investigators believe the attack was made by one of the far-left (and pro-Islamic terrorist) groups that operate in the capital.
December 10, 2014: In the West Bank a minister in the Fatah government died during a violent anti-Israeli demonstration he got involved in. Arab medical examiners said the minister died of being struck by Israeli police, inhaling tear gas and delays in getting medical attention. Israeli medical examiners pointed out that the dead man had a serious heart condition and an examination of his heart clearly showed that he had suffered a heart attack. Fatah used this death to denounce Israeli barbarity.
December 9, 2014: Israel accused an American (Adam Livix) of plotting to attack Moslem holy places in Israel. Livix is in Israel illegally and was arrested in November. At that time he was found to have explosives and other bomb making components. One reason Livix is in Israel is to escape arrest warrants for him in the United States. Israel plans to prosecute, punish and then ship Livix home to deal with those warrants.
December 7, 2014:
Israeli warplanes bombed warehouses outside Damascus
and a dozen or more other military targets near the Syrian capital. This was the largest Israeli air raid on Syria since the rebellion began in 2011. The main purpose of the raid was
an effort to destroy components of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems Syria is trying to set up. Russia had apparently shipped more S-300 components to Syria despite an August pledge to respect the UN sanctions and not do so. The last Israeli air attack was in February when Israeli aircraft came in low over the Lebanese-Syrian border and fired missiles that destroyed two trucks and killed four Hezbollah men. One of the trucks was carrying longer range rockets while the other truck contained a launcher for the rockets. On January 27th there was an Israeli air strike near the Syrian naval base at Latakia. This attack was said to be against some S-300 anti-aircraft missile components recently received from Russia. Before that an October 2013 raid destroyed a shipment of Russian SA-125 missiles being shipped to Hezbollah in Lebanon. There were two similar attacks earlier in 2013 and a total of five air strikes in Syria in 2013. Syria calls this illegal and accuses Israel of supporting the Islamic terrorist rebels and being largely responsible for the rebellion in Syria. This is part of a widespread belief that the rise of violent Islamic terrorist groups was not because of anything Moslems have done but a plot by Israel and the West.
Iran also blames the West for “creating” ISIL. All these conspiracy theories ignore the fact that the growing Sunni/Shia conflict that Iran sponsors heavily has more to do with ISIL than anything the West does. Russia has fewer problems with Islamic terrorists because they continues centuries old customs of coming down hard on this sort of thing. This appears to discourage a lot of potential recruits for Islamic terrorist organizations in Russia and makes it easier to find and kill the few who do continue to operate. Continuing with these policies the Russians feel they can keep the Islamic terrorist threat under control.
December 5, 2014: Off the Gaza coast an Israeli gunboat caught a Palestinian fishing boat outside the ten kilometers (from the coast) limit for fishing boats. Two Palestinians were arrested and the boat seized. Hamas continues to try and use Palestinian fishing boats to smuggle weapons into Gaza, or land terrorists in Israel. Israel did (in August) expand the area Palestinian fishing boats could operate but some fishermen continue to cross the line.
December 3, 2014: In the West Bank a Palestinian teenager armed with a knife wounded two older Israelis in a supermarket. The attacker disabled when he was shot and wounded by an off-duty security guard.
December 1, 2014: In November Palestinian violence and terrorism (actual or planned) resulted in nine Palestinian killed and over 900 arrested, mostly by Israeli police. Palestinian police also arrest Palestinians for terrorist activities, but usually for Hamas terrorism directed at Fatah officials who run the West Bank. Since October 22nd Palestinian terrorism in Israel and the West Bank has killed 11 Israelis and wounded dozens. Twelve Palestinians have died, most of them during or shortly after an attack. Today a Palestinian woman stabbed and wounded an Israeli in the West bank and was in turn shot before she could be captured. Such stabbings are becoming more frequent as are incidents of Palestinians or Israeli Arabs throwing rocks or even fire bombs at Israeli vehicles.
November 28, 2014: In Egypt (Cairo) an army general was shot dead. Both the Moslem Brotherhood radicals and other Islamic terrorists have been using assassination of senior police and army officials more frequently. This is a form of intimidation, but it is also another indication that more of the Islamic terrorists are moving out of Sinai and into urban areas.
November 26, 2014: In Egypt (northern Sinai) police opened up the only border crossing with Gaza briefly so that some of the 6,000 Gaza Palestinians stranded in Egypt (when the crossing was closed a month ago in response to an attack by Gaza based Islamic terrorists that left 32 Egyptian soldiers dead. Israel has also allowed another convoy with building materials into Gaza, after being assured that none of the construction materials would be diverted to military use.
November 23, 2014: In northern Gaza Israeli troops killed one Palestinian and wounded another as they fired on three Palestinians who approached too close to the security fence. These were the first deaths in Gaza since the August truce.
Israel reveal that it had recently arrested the first Israeli (an Arab) for trying to join ISIL.