Israel: Spies and Terrorists in Gaza

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July 6, 2007: Israel will build a new fence along the 220 kilometer Gaza/Egypt border. The new fence will contain sensors that can detect digging below, so as to stop the underground smuggling. The Egyptians are now eager to halt this smuggling, because they believe Hamas is hosting terrorist groups planning attacks inside Egypt. Previous plans to build such a fence were stalled because of Egyptian objections, and the cost (over a million dollars per kilometer.) Israeli ground forces pulled out of Gaza, after about 24 hours of operations. At least eleven Palestinians were killed.

July 5, 2007: Israeli troops entered Gaza, killed the Hamas commander for central Gaza, raided Hamas offices and took prisoners. These raids also involve searches for a kidnapped Israeli soldier believed held somewhere in Gaza.

July 4, 2007: A BBC reporter, held captive since March, has been released in Gaza. The reporter was held by one of the clan militias. The kidnappers wanted a large ransom, but also demanded the release of al Qaeda leaders held outside of Israel. Hamas obtained the reporters release by seizing senior clan members, and offering an exchange. This is a traditional way of handling this sort of thing in this part of the world.

July 3, 2007: Russia is pulling its citizens (120 people, plus 35 from neighboring nations) out of Gaza, fearing more violence. Although Hamas has brought peace to the streets, this has been accomplished with violence, and threats of violence. For example, Hamas traffic cops punish drivers who run red lights, by firing at their cars. There are dozens of clan militias in Gaza, and Hamas has faced them down, for now. The clans still have their guns, and greatly outnumber Hamas fighters. If the some of the major clans join together to oppose Hamas, the streets will become dangerous again. The gangs survive by smuggling and various criminal activities (stealing from aid organizations, selling information to Israel, extortion, and so on). The clans had more power on the streets than Fatah, and were one of the reasons Fatah collapsed so quickly in Gaza. Armed clans are much less of a problem in the West Bank, where Israeli troops and police control movement, and who owns weapons.

July 2, 2007: In Lebanon, the six week siege of Islamic terrorists at a Palestinian refugee camp is expected to go on for another two weeks. Some 80 percent of the camp, once home to 31,000 Palestinians, has been destroyed. There are only a few dozen terrorists left, who have said they will fight to the death.

July 1, 2007: Israel transferred $119 million in withheld tax revenues to Fatah, which will pay Palestinian Authority employees in full for the first time in over a year. However, Palestinian civil servants in Gaza will only be paid if they do not work (since Hamas controls government facilities in Gaza, and Fatah has banned Hamas.) The Palestinian Authority payroll amounts to about $120 million a month. Since March, 2006, when Hamas took over the Palestinian government, Israel has withheld $600 million in customs duties that it normally passed on to the Palestinians. In Gaza, terrorists resumed firing rockets into southern Israel. Officially, Hamas does not approve of this.

June 30, 2007: The Israeli intelligence network in Gaza has survived the Hamas victory over Fatah. Over a year of no foreign aid has impoverished most Gazans, making more people willing to risk their lives to provide Israel with information about terrorist activities. Several times a week, Israeli aircraft fire missiles at terrorist targets identified by the informers. That, or ground forces come in to do the job, and seize prisoners, documents and other terrorist equipment.

 

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