In the last two weeks, the
rocket attacks into southern Israel killed two people, while Israeli
counter-terror attacks in Gaza killed about fifty, most of whom were
terrorists. Fatah considers the rocket attacks pointless and counterproductive.
But Hamas is trapped by its own rhetoric of support for attacks on Israel, and
cannot muster enough internal support to back a ceasefire. Moreover, the
violence takes peoples minds off the continued inability of Hamas to govern the
Palestinian territories, or do anything to revive the economy. Hamas won the
last Palestinian elections because they were seen as less corrupt, but Hamas is
also much more into the use of violence against Israel, and that comes with a
cost to all Palestinians.
In Lebanon, the army continues to besiege a
Palestinian refugee camp in the north, where a week of fighting against
an al Qaeda group has left nearly a hundred dead. Hizbollah, after days of
deliberation, announced it would not go to the aid of its fellow militants.
This was largely because al Qaeda believes Shia are heretics, and often makes
vicious attacks against Shia civilians and mosques. While Shia terrorists
sometimes cooperate with al Qaeda against a common enemy, such deals are
temporary and do nothing to patch up the differences between the two groups.
The Lebanon battle, against 200-300 terrorists dug in outside the port of
Tripoli, is an indication of how well the Lebanese army might do against
Hizbollah. So far, the army isn't doing to great, but they aren't a total
May 27, 2007: The rocket attacks on southern
Israel are very difficult to stop. The rockets are built in improvised
workshops in constantly shifting locations, among the thousands of
buildings in Gaza that the terrorists, with the assistance of Hamas, can
commandeer. The rockets are moved up to northern Gaza at night and
launched. Israel UAVs often detect these movements and launching operations,
and call in artillery fire or missiles launched from aircraft or helicopters.
This is where most of the Palestinian casualties occur. When possible, the
terrorists use Palestinian civilians as involuntary human shields, and if this
results in casualties from Israeli attacks, it is portrayed as a deliberate
attack on civilians, which is generally accepted in the Arab world. This
continued attacks has caused Israel to point out that it will keep escalating
the use of military force until the rocket attacks stop. The Israeli army has
been ordered to resume operations inside Gaza. But the army can only be
effective if they can come up with some new tactics that will put the hurt on
the Palestinian terrorist organizations inside Gaza. Israel has done the
"new tactics" thing before, but it doesn't always work. More
firepower is easy, new ideas are hard. But so far, the Israelis are way ahead
of the Palestinians in that department.
May 26, 2007: One rocket was fired into
southern Israel, landing near a residential area, causing anxiety, but no
casualties. Hamas backed terrorists are managing to launch 10-20 rockets a week
into southern Israel, but are losing one or two Palestinians killed for each
rocket successfully launched. Israeli countermeasures are making it
increasingly dangerous to move rockets into firing positions in northern Gaza.
So far, the terrorists have been unable to design a longer range rocket that
could be fired from more densely populated areas in southern or central
May 25, 2007: Israel arrested 33 Hamas
officials in the West Bank. These men will be held in an effort to get Hamas to
go along with a ceasefire. If Hamas does not, they will have lost the services
of some of their more able leaders. In Jerusalem, two Palestinian terrorists
fired on security guards with a pistol, wounding two. Return fire killed
the Palestinians. While it is very difficult to get bombs into Israel, pistols
and knives can be obtained from criminals. But attacks with these weapons are
more difficult to carry out, requiring more skill and discipline than for a
suicide bomb attack.
May 24, 2007: Fatah has agreed to a
ceasefire, but Hamas refuses, and the rocket attacks against southern Israel
May 23, 2007: Israel has begun arresting
Hamas officials in the West Bank, in retaliation for Hamas resistance to a new
ceasefire (that would involve halting the rocket attacks from Gaza into southern
Israel.) One of the Israeli air strikes was against some Gaza money changers
who have been handling the transfer of millions of dollars to Hamas officials
inside Gaza. This is the first time the air force has taken part in operations
against terrorist financing.
May 22, 2007: Palestinian terrorists,
encouraged by the a rocket killing a woman in southern Israel yesterday, say
they will never stop launching the rockets until Israel stops all military
operations in Gaza and the West Bank. This would mean all counter-terror
operations would halt, and Palestinian groups trying to launch terror attacks
inside Israel would have a much easier time of it. Israeli counter-terror
tactics have been very successful in the past few years, mainly because they concentrate
on the key people in the groups that plan and carry out suicide bomber attacks.
That means arresting people in the Palestinian territories, and using missiles
to kill terrorists or destroy bomb factories or other targets. For the
terrorists, getting Israel to stop these attacks would be a major victory, and
would lead to more suicide bomber attacks inside Israel. The major Palestinian
factions, Hamas and Fatah, are not willing to stop the more militant factions
from launching these rocket attacks. This would be very unpopular, as the Arab
media portrays the terrorists attacking Israel as heroic, if tragic and futile,