"intifada" (uprising) against Israel is in its seventh year, and the
Palestinians refuse to admit defeat. Over the last two years, there have been
about 1,700 dead, compared to nearly a thousand a year for the first five years
of the war. The total dead for this war so far is nearly 5,800, of which over
80 percent are Palestinians. The proportion of Israeli casualties has sharply declined
over the last two years. Before Israel came up with effective counter-terror
tactics in 2005, nearly 25 percent of the dead were Israeli. Now, less than ten
percent of the dead are Israeli.
May 7, 2007: Most Kassam rockets were fired
from Gaza into Israel. Attempts to get the government to resign because
of the way things were done during last years Lebanon war, have failed.
Opponents were only able to muster support from about 22 percent of the members
May 6, 2007: A Palestinian group holding a
BBC journalist in Gaza, now want a $5 million ransom, in addition to some land
in Gaza, and the release of an al Qaeda terrorist in Jordan.
May 5, 2007: Three more rockets were fired
into Israel from Gaza. One hit a house and caused damage, but no casualties.
Hamas rejected an an American plan to extend the truce and move peace talks
forward. Hamas wants Western aid, despite the Hamas position that Israel must
be destroyed and Hamas must be allowed to help make that happen. Fatah, the Hamas
rival, supported the U.S. plan.
May 4, 2007: The government accused
Arab-Israeli politician Azmi Bishara, of spying for Hizbollah, and receiving
hundreds of thousands of dollars for his services. He and Hizbollah deny this.
Bishara has fled the country and refuses to come back. Bisharas political party
holds three seats (out of 120) in the Israeli parliament.
In the West Bank, three Palestinians terrorists
were killed during a gun battle with Israeli police.
May 3, 2007: Gaza continues to be lawless,
with dozens of armed groups staking out claims to territory, and fighting gun
battles in the streets to affirm those claims. In Lebanon, the pro-Syrian
minority, particularly Hizbollah, continue to oppose free elections and
prosecution of those who have killed Lebanese politicians for Syria. The UN is
backing investigations into this, as well as the continued arms smuggling to
Hizbollah from Syria.
May 2, 2007: The Western aid embargo on the
Palestinians (because Hamas refuses to give up its call for Israels
destruction) has effectively cut in half the pay of Palestinian government
employees. This has not had much effect, as the Palestinian civil servants are
remarkably ineffective, even by Middle Eastern standards. The government jobs
are basically a form of patronage, so the politicians can reward their
supporters. As more Western aid money came in, more of these patronage jobs
were created. Arab states offered to make up for the lost Western aid, but have
only been able to deliver about $55 million a month, thus government employees
have been on half pay (and struck 133 days in the last year over that.)
May 1, 2007: A government report on the conduct of
last years war blames the prime minister for lacking military experience, thus
not communicating effectively with the army. The prime minister didn't
understand that the army reservists in the north were not ready for an invasion
of Lebanon. In fact, the policy for the previous six years had been to avoid
any cross-border actions. While the invasion of Lebanon was popular with
Israelis (because of all the Hizbollah rockets fired into Israel), the
government report suggests that it would have been better to just bomb. But
that was not what stopped to rocket attacks, it was the ground operations. Once
Hizbollah began, six years ago, installing 12,000 thousand rockers in
homes, schools and mosques along the Israeli border, the Israelis should have
prepared their troops to go in and clean them out. But the Israeli Air Force
insisted that they could do it from the air. This is not the first time air
force generals have over-promised in the last 80 years.