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.