Gun battles between Hamas and Fatah gunmen continue to occur. Fatah has more men under arms, but the Hamas forces are more disciplined and better led. Arab nations are trying to convince the U.S. to allow banks to transfer money to Hamas, and for Western donors in general to resume the billion dollars a year in subsidies for the Palestinian Authority. The Arab nations are also trying to get Hamas to at least go through the motions of admitting Israel has a right to exist. But Hamas is not as corrupt as Fatah, and insists on being honest about its core belief that Israel must be destroyed. Meanwhile, the Palestinian economy sinks further, as for the third month, the 170,000 Palestinian Authority employees, the cornerstone of the economy, are unpaid. The 70,000 unpaid security personnel are growing more agitated day by day, and Hamas fears an all out civil war.
May 21, 2006: Continuing to ease up on the Palestinians, Israel allowed $11 million in Palestinian taxes they are withholding, to be sent to Gaza in the form of medical supplies. The three months of no income has caused a health care crises as hospitals and pharmacies run out of supplies. Israeli artillery fired over 200 shells into Gaza, at suspected firing locations of Palestinian rockets.
Al Qaeda took responsibility for yesterdays bombing attempt against commander of the Fatah security forces. The bomb was discovered and deactivated.
May 20, 2006: The Israeli air force killed a Palestinian terrorist leader in Gaza with a missile. In retaliation, the terrorists fired more rockets into southern Israel. In Gaza, the Fatah head of intelligence was wounded by a roadside bomb. Hamas was believed responsible, but Hamas denied any involvement.
May 19, 2006: Palestinian border guards, loyal to the Fatah president of the Palestinian Authority, seized $800,000 in cash being smuggled from Egypt by a Hamas official. Banks refuse to transfer money to Hamas, because it is a terrorist organization, and the U.S. will prosecute banks that transfer money to terrorists. Since all major banks have operations in the United States, they are waiting for the legal situation to clear up before sending any money to Hamas. So Hamas smuggles cash from Egypt (where money for them has been brought in from other Moslem nations).
May 18, 2006: Israel eased up restrictions on Palestinians, reopening the main cargo crossing from Gaza to Israel. This crossing has been closed about 40 percent of the time so far this year. Meanwhile, Hamas deployed a new, 3,000 man security force, despite this having been vetoed by the non-Hamas president of the Palestinian Authority (which is now run by Hamas). Gun battles between Hamas and Fatah gunmen continue, with over a dozen casualties in the last 24 hours.
May 16, 2006: In Gaza, a senior Hamas official was shot dead by an unknown gunmen, who were probably from Fatah. Twenty Palestinian gunmen raided the offices of the only cell phone provider in Gaza, demanding that their phones be turned back on (they were turned off for lack of payment.) The gunmen shot up the building, damaging some equipment. The company threatened to shut down cell phone service if the violence against them does not stop.