Israel: Hamas Waves The White Flag

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October 16, 2007: Hamas is now willing to give up control of Gaza, and negotiate a peace deal with Fatah. Hamas is caught between its rhetoric and the reality of its situation. Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel, but with Palestinians ruled by Fatah in the West Bank living so much better than those living under Hamas rule in Gaza, Hamas is rapidly becoming less popular. Hamas is also becoming less stable, with the more radical factions unwilling to give up control over Gaza, even if that control is threatened by an increasingly anti-Hamas population.

In northern Gaza, Israeli troops and Palestinian terrorists play a deadly game of cat and mouse. The Palestinians try and sneak to locations where they can set up Kassam rockets, set timers to automatically launch them into southern Israel, and then get away before Israeli artillery or missiles arrive. An Israeli radar spots the rockets after they launch, turns on warning sirens in any town the rockets might be headed for, and plots the launching location. This information goes to artillery units, which fire shells to destroy the Kassem launchers, or kill any Palestinians dumb enough to hang around. This sometimes includes teenage (or younger) Palestinians who try to rush in and grab the metal launchers (to sell) before the artillery hits. Sometimes the kids make it, sometimes they don't. Overhead, Israeli aircraft try to track the people involved in these launching operations, in order to determine which terrorist group is responsible. Israel still has informers in Gaza, and knows the only way to slow down, or stop, terrorist attacks is to go for the leadership and technical experts. Thus there are still raids in Gaza, to grab key terrorists, or helicopters or F-16s firing missiles at vehicles or buildings containing key terrorist personnel. In the West Bank, Fatah is actively assisting Israel in rounding up the terrorists. Many Palestinians don't like this cooperation, but even more Palestinians have accepted the fact that the seven year war ("intifada") has resulted in an Israeli victory.

October 15, 2007: Israel and Hizbollah carried out a swap, with Hizbollah getting one their men back along with the bodies of two Hizbollah men. In return, Hizbollah turned over the body of an Israeli civilian who had drowned in the Mediterranean in 2005, and he body had drifted north to a Lebanese beach, where it was found and turned over to Hizbollah. This exchange is meant to pave the way for a deal for the two Israeli soldiers seized by Hizbollah in 2006.

October 14, 2007: Egypt, in response to growing complaints that it does nothing to halt the smuggling into Gaza, has announced finding and sealing two smuggling tunnels in the last week. The tunnels were over a thousand meters long. In one of them, police found weapons, ammo and heroin waiting to be moved through.

 

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