Israel: January 6, 2004

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The violence in Israel has killed 3,130 so far (2,290 Palestinians and 840 Israelis), since the fighting began in September, 2000. There has only been one suicide bombing in the last three months (December 26th). Egypt is trying to convince more Palestinian leaders to negotiate with the Israelis, and crack down on the terrorist attacks. Israel does not believe there is any real ceasefire with the terrorists. On the day of the last suicide bombing, Israeli security forces had 52 alerts for possible suicide attacks. Israeli security measures, which evolve and improve daily, are still discovering groups of Palestinians planning and trying to carry out suicide attacks. More of these terrorist operations are detected daily. Most attacks that are stopped are not reported, lest methods of detecting and stopping such attacks are revealed to the terrorists. The terrorist organizations are still trying to smuggle weapons and explosives into Palestinian territories. The terrorists are not having any problem with recruiting, with many young Palestinians still willing to risk their lives to fight the Israelis. Young Palestinians grew up on an educational system that openly stressed the need to destroy Israel, and most young Palestinians agree with this. That educational system has not changed.

Construction of the Israeli security wall continues. The wall is popular in Israel, as it is perceived as cutting down on terrorist attacks. The Palestinians and their European allies believe the wall will become a permanent border, and will include 5-10 percent of territory the Palestinians consider their own. The Israeli government is trying to convince enough "greater Israel" (Israel with a lot of Palestinian territory added) politicians to go along with destroying a lot of the Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory and making a peace deal with the Palestinians. Most Israelis would go along with dismantling most, or all, of the settlements if it truly brought peace. But most Israelis don't trust the current Palestinian leadership to make a peace deal work.  So the stalemate remains, with the Palestinians facing life inside a virtual prison camp, surrounded by Israeli security and the wall. Israel is determined to impose this solution if the Palestinians cannot get it together and negotiate a peace deal.


 

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