Israel: Using The Truce As A Weapon

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June 24, 2008:  The Hamas truce is not expected to last. In the year that Hamas has controlled Gaza, their violence has left 400 Palestinians (half killed by Hamas and other Palestinians) and seven Israelis dead. There are over a dozen violent and independent-minded terrorist groups in Gaza, and Hamas cannot control all of them. Palestinians have a terrible track record with truces, and controlling their factions. The current truce with Hamas is not expected to survive more than a few weeks. The Israelis went along with it as a courtesy to Egypt, and in the hope that the inability of Hamas to maintain its end of the truce, would convince Egypt to be more effective in stopping the weapons smuggling from Egypt into Gaza.

 

In Lebanon, the government continues seeking those who aided the killing of Palestinian terrorists in the past. Recently a retired Lebanese policeman and a Palestinian man were indicted for helping Israel kill a Palestinian terrorist six years ago. The retired policeman is accused of participating in two similar operations. Israel has long had a network of agents in Lebanon, where many locals resent the presence of Palestinian and Iranian-backed terrorists organizations, and are willing to risk their lives to aid Israel in killing terrorist leaders. Israel also pays well, and will, when possible, get agents and their families out of Lebanon. There are several thousand such Lebanese living in Israel.

 

Israel believes that, despite the presence of UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, Hizbollah has smuggled thousands of short range (6-20 kilometers) rockets into the area and hidden them in anticipation of another attack on Israel. If that happens, Hizbollah expects the peacekeepers to stand aside, as they did in 2006, once Hizbollah gunmen show up. The peacekeepers did not crack down on Hizbollah smuggling the rockets south and burying them or hiding them in basements. Hizbollah terrorized the peacekeepers with a few deadly attacks on them. The UN protested, Hizbollah quietly let it be known that more peacekeepers would die unless Hizbollah smuggling of weapons south was ignored by the peacekeepers.

 

In northern Lebanon, fighting between Sunni and Shia militiamen died down as the army moved in to keep the peace. About ten died and over fifty were wounded in three days of violence. There are dozens of armed factions in Lebanon, most based on religion (many different sects of Christians and Moslems). The majority of these factions are united in their opposition to Iranian backed Hizbollah (the largest Shia faction) gaining more power. But Hizbollah is a powerful bully, and is getting away with it.

 

June 23, 2008:  On the West Bank, Israel removed another ten roadblocks. In the last few months, over a hundred of these roadblocks have been removed, as part of a deal with Fatah to bring peace to the area. There are still several hundred roadblocks, which are used to hinder the movement of terrorists intent on carrying out attacks inside Israel. Such tactics have reduced such terror attacks over 98 percent in the last five years.

 

In the Gaza, a Palestinian mortar shell was fired into southern Israel. This was the first such violation of the six month truce that began on the 20th.

 

June 22, 2008:  In the northern Lebanon city of Tripoli, fighting between Sunni and Shia militias broke out, causing several dozen casualties.

 

June 21, 2008:  U.S. officials revealed that Israel has conducted a large air force exercise (over a hundred F-16s, F15s and support aircraft) that flew way out over the Mediterranean, in what appeared to be a rehearsal for an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Israel said nothing about the exercise.

 

Hamas officials admitted that they would not try to stop the smuggling, usually via tunnels or nighttime drops from boats off shore. These smuggling efforts are bringing in the new weapons that Hamas is receiving from Iran. Israel protested to Egypt, pointing out that the truce deal included a halt to all this smuggling.

 

June 20, 2008:  In the hours before the six month truce with Hamas began, Palestinians fired 40 rockets and ten mortar shells from Gaza. Israel conducted another air strike as well, against terrorist leaders.

 

June 18, 2008:  Israel and Hamas agreed to a six month truce, beginning on the 20th. This was done in cooperation with Egypt, which brokered the deal.

 

 

 

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