Still no joint Fatah-Hamas government. No peace deal with Israel either.
But everyone is still talking. Everyone is still fighting as well. There are
daily clashes between Fatah and Hamas gunmen in Gaza. And Israeli
counter-terror operations continue in the West Bank. The only successful
attacks on Israel are Palestinian home made rockets fired from Gaza into thinly
populated southern Israel. Over a thousand such rockets have been fired in the
last two years, causing 110 Israeli casualties. The Palestinians consider this
a victory, and devote considerable resources to the rocket campaign, despite a
four month ceasefire that was supposed to have stopped the rockets.
March 12, 2007:
A BBC reporter was kidnapped in Gaza. This sort of thing is increasingly
common, and is usually done by a faction trying to get something (jobs, money)
out of the larger factions (Fatah and Hamas.) The victim is kept for a few
days, and released. Meanwhile, Hamas is
publicly squabbling with al Qaeda over the lack of Hamas suicide bomber attacks
on Israel since 2004. In the previous four years, Hamas carried out 58 attacks
in Israel, killing 300 civilians. Superior Israeli counter-terrorism tactics shut
down the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign, but Hamas insists its spending
all its energy on preparing bigger and more destructive attacks on Israel.
March 10, 2007:
Gun battles between Fatah and Hamas groups continue in Gaza, with one
dead and several wounded today.
March 9, 2007:
A gunfight broke out at the Gaza border crossings with Egypt. Fatah
gunmen fought Palestinian police. At least five people were wounded, and the
border was closed for hours. Israel keeps the border crossing closed 80 percent
of the time anyway, in an effort to force the Palestinians to free an Israeli
soldier they kidnapped last year.
Israel claims that Syria was moving its long range
rockets (that could reach targets throughout Israel) to underground positions
near the Lebanese and Israeli borders. However, Israeli military intelligence
believes Syria would not attack Israel, at least not this year. The Syrian
armed forces are too weak, having suffered over a decade of decline because of
the end of foreign subsidies once the Cold War ended in 1991.
March 8, 2007:
Israeli military intelligence believes Hamas is using the four month old
cease fire to smuggle more weapons and Iranian technical advisors into Gaza, in
preparation for a major rocket attack against southern Israel. Hamas expects to
win the same kind of symbolic victory, like
Hizbollah did last year. Hamas expects to lose militarily, when Israeli
troops return to Gaza. But in the long term, Hamas believes they will win, and