Israel: Palestinians Battle Each Other, and Lose Big

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February7, 2007: The new Palestinian ceasefire has reduced the violence in Gaza quite a bit. A peace conference in Saudi Arabia makes it clear that ending the Palestinian civil war is unlikely. The basic problem is that, while Fatah is willing to make a peace deal with Israel, Fatah is corrupt and despised by most Palestinians. Hamas is much less corrupt, but run by religious fanatics who believe God has commanded them to destroy Israel, no matter what the cost. To make matters worse, Hamas takes lots of money from Iran, which is seen as the enemy of all Arabs, especially those living in Arabia. The most likely outcome of all this will be Fatah taking control of the West Bank, and Hamas taking control of Gaza. That will be followed by the Israelis occupying Gaza again and rounding up most of the Hamas leadership, and killing a lot of Hamas gunmen in street battles. More Arabs are putting most of the blame on Palestinians, rather than Israel, for this mess.

February 6, 2007: Despite a new ceasefire today, fighting over the weekend caused over a hundred Palestinian casualties, and up to twenty people kidnapped or captured. Along the Lebanese border, Israeli troops found and disabled four freshly planted roadside bombs. Hizbollah did not deny that the bombs were theirs, but insisted they were bombs planted last Summer, and thus not a violation of the August ceasefire.

February 4, 2007: Under pressure from Israel, Egyptian border guards on the Gaza crossing points, have been seizing more of the weapons pouring into Gaza. Hamas, in particular, is stockpiling rockets. Apparently. Hamas wants to try and emulate Hizbollah's rocket barrage of last Summer. To counter this, Israel is moving forward combat units and making it possible for a massive military operation into Gaza on short notice. If Hamas tries to launch a lot of rockets, they will find the all of Gaza under Israeli occupation once more. Apparently Hamas plans to counter that with thousands of gunmen and street fighting. This has failed in the past, as the Israelis have developed tactics and techniques to deal with it. But Hamas has not got many options, since its entire reason for existence is the destruction of Israel.

Three armed West Bank Hamas members were caught driving around in Israel, trying to kidnap Israelis.

February 3, 2007: Fatah is losing the battle for the streets. The Hamas gunmen are better led and motivated, and tend to win firefights with Fatah forces. As a result, it is Hamas checkpoints that are found all over Gaza. On the West Bank, however, Fatah has an edge. The West Bank has a third player, the clan organizations that have grow more important as government has fallen apart over the last seven years. The clan militias are keeping Fatah and Hamas gunmen out of several towns already. Other towns see clan based militias as a better solution to all the violence, than waiting for Fatah or Hamas gunmen to do anything.

 

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