The U.S. Congress passed a law that bans aid to Palestinians unless
Hamas drops its calls for the destruction of Israel. That law may be replaced
by more pro-Hamas legislation, as representatives of the new Democratic Party
majority in Congress have been secretly meeting with Palestinian officials.
Hamas also has convinced many European nations that a ceasefire with Israel
should be sufficient, to get aid restored. The Europeans are willing to
live with the Hamas policy of ultimately destroying Israel. Europeans have
always been more tolerant of this sort of thing. During the eleven day
ceasefire, 17 Palestinian rockets have been fired into southern Israel. The
Palestinians consider this compliance. Hamas is stockpiling weapons for some
major attacks on Israel.
Lebanon, Hizbollah supporters are trying to topple the current anti-Syrian/Iran
government with massive demonstrations in the capital. The government blames
the United States for all this, because the U.S. did not stop Israel from
defending itself last Summer, and bombing Lebanon. Because Israel did not
re-occupy southern Lebanon, Hizbollah declared a victory and is able to get
more Shia Lebanese to join these demonstrations. However, there has been some
violence with Sunni and Christian Lebanese on the fringes of the
demonstrations, and that violence may grow. The majority of Lebanese do not
want a return of a pro-Syrian government.
7, 2006: An internal report of Israeli military operations last July accuses
Israeli military leaders of being too dependent on air power, delaying the
calling up of ground forces reservists, and allowing reservist training and
discipline to decline (in response to the frequent reservist call ups to deal
with the six years of Palestinian terrorist attacks.) There was a political
component to all three of these decisions (Israeli soldiers are voters), but
that's no excuse for screwing up.
6, 2006: The UN is trying to raise $450 million in aid for Palestinians, who
have been cut off from some of this aid since Hamas took over the Palestinian
government last Spring. The unemployment rate among Palestinians is 29 percent,
but opinion surveys indicate the majority of Palestinians back continued war
with Israel, and the eventual destruction of Israel. Since last Spring, Hamas
has smuggled in at least $66 million in cash from Arab countries, and
international (mainly European) aid organizations have delivered over
$800 million in aid direct to Palestinians, without going through the
Palestinian government. This reduces the amount of aid stolen by the
Palestinian government, but Hamas and Fatah continue to take a percentage by
levying a "tax" on some Palestinians who receive this aid.
Palestinians civil servants have been getting about two-thirds of their
5, 2006: Israel released video, and other evidence, showing how Hizbollah used
civilians as human shields during last July's rocket attacks on Israel.
Hizbollah's attitude is largely one of, "so what?" Meanwhile, Egypt
said that, in the last month, it had seized four tons of explosives that were
being smuggled into Gaza.
4, 2006: Last month, Palestinian terrorists made 287 attacks on Israel,
including 157 rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel. The Israeli police
operations in the West Bank have largely halted the deadly suicide bomb attacks
on Israel. There have been 120 of these since the Palestinians began their
current "war" on Israel in 2000. But new Israeli tactics have stopped
nearly all the suicide bomber attacks in the last two years. However, these
tactics require frequent police operations in the West Bank, to arrest
terrorists who are planning suicide bomb attacks. The Palestinians consider these
arrests to be aggression, and illegal.
3, 2006: In the first week of truce, an average of two rockets a day have been
fired into Israel. The Palestinians claim Israel violates the ceasefire when
they try to stop ships smuggling weapons into Gaza, or continue police actions
on the West Bank, which was not included in the ceasefire. The Palestinians are
using the lack of Israeli military operations in Gaza to continue their arms
smuggling and preparations for major attacks on Israel.
2, 2006: Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, 10-20 tons of weapons a month
have been smuggled into Gaza, across the Egyptian border.