In the last week, about a dozen
Kassam rockets a day have been fired into southern Israel. These have wounded
six Israelis, and caused some property damage. In response, Israeli aircraft
have fired missiles at suspected bomb workshops, and the homes of terrorist
leaders who ordered the rocket attacks. This has killed over twenty people in
the last week and wounded about as many. The fighting between Hamas and Fatah
is causing 20-30 casualties a day, at least ten percent of them civilians. The
1.3 million people living in Gaza are being terrorized by the 10-15,000 armed
men of Fatah and Hamas who wander the streets, heavily armed and looking for a
fight. Most of the confrontations between Fatah and Hamas are staring contests,
with one group eventually deciding they are at a disadvantage, and backing off.
Many of the security forces who are killed, were first captured or kidnapped,
then killed, with a bullet in the back of the head.
The cause of all the violence appears to have been
the Fatah decision, last week, to send several thousand police Gaza, in an
attempt to halt the low level violence and lawlessness that had become common.
The various armed gangs and militias resented this attempt to control
May 20, 2007: Yet another ceasefire was
negotiated between Fatah and Hamas. As word of this got around in Gaza, the
gunfire died down and the groups of roaming gunmen got off the streets.
May 19, 2007: Hamas fired one of their
Russian anti-tank missiles (obtained from Iran) at an Israeli armored bulldozer
in northern Gaza. Two Israeli soldiers were wounded. Israel has moved four
155mm self-propelled guns back to firing positions just outside of northern
Gaza. These fired several shells to check their accuracy, but have not resumed
firing shells at suspected Kassam launching sites, to discourage such rocket
activity. In the past, some of these 155mm shells hit Palestinian civilians who
were in the uninhabited area searching for scrap, or just out for a walk.
May 18, 2007: Pro-Hamas clerics have declared
it OK to kill members of Fatah. Islamic conservatives need permission of a
cleric to make war on other Moslems, because that sort of thing is technically
forbidden by scripture. There is also a branch of conservative Islam that
simply declares Moslems, who disagree with you, are not really Moslems, and can
be killed straight away. Hamas is also threatening to renew its terror attacks
on Israel. Hamas does not want to do this partly because its terror
organization has, like all other Palestinian terrorist operations, been
crippled by Israeli counter-terror tactics. It's also quite obvious that
Israeli intelligence, about what is going on in Gaza, is quite good. Israeli
bombers frequently know where key Palestinian terrorist leaders are, and fire
missiles at them. Hamas would like to do some damage to the Israeli informer
network, before trying to launch more terror attacks on Israel. But there's
also that the growing violence, and poverty, in Gaza makes it easier for Israel
to recruit informers.
May 16, 2007: In Gaza, Hamas and Fatah agreed
to their fourth truce in four days of fighting. The problem is that neither
organization has disciplined gunmen. There are numerous factions, and even the
factions have guys who cannot be depended on when ordered to stand down. Both
sides are making attacks on leaders. This is often men loyal to a leader
of one side, attacking the home and family of a leader from the other side. This
makes it very personal, and cries out for a revenge attack. Meanwhile, Israel
is responding with more attacks in attempts to stop the rocket attacks into
southern Israel. These attacks are political dynamite in Israel, generating
calls to "do something."