The blockade of Gaza has made
the smuggling tunnels a major business, despite regular collapses and Egyptian
police finding and destroying them. There's too much money to be made by
operating a tunnel, so while the Egyptians discover and destroy at least one a
day, work on another one begins. Hamas taxes the tunnels, obtaining nearly $4
million a year from that alone. Hamas operates some of the tunnels, making more
money from smuggling in consumer goods. But the tunnels are also used to bring
weapons in from Egypt, where police and government officials are bribed to look
the other way. Meanwhile, Fatah announced plans to retake control of Gaza by
force. While Fatah has established control over the West Bank, any move on Gaza
would require cooperation from the Israelis. Something will have to be done
about Hamas, because of the growing arsenal of rockets, and continued announcements
that Hamas will eventually attack Israel and, with the help of Iran, destroy
armed forces believe that Russia is using its intelligence forces, both agents
inside Israel and spy satellites and ships, to collect information on Israel
and pass it on to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Israelis believe this has been going
on for several years, apparently as part of some deal with Iran.
corruption investigations have caught up with Israeli prime minister Ehud
Olmert, who has now resigned. The new prime minister will be former Mossad
operative (and current foreign minister) Tzipi Livni. It's uncertain how much,
if any, change there will be because of this.
18, 2008: Settler violence continued in
the West Bank, as police removed settlers from an illegal outpost, and settlers
responded by setting fires and damaging Palestinian property.
16, 2008: In Gaza, battles between Hamas
and clan gangs left eleven dead, including a child and a pro-al Qaeda terrorist
(who was protected by the gang). Hamas control of Gaza is not complete.
15, 2008: A member of the Iraqi parliament
(Sunni Arab Mithal Alusi), was punished by his fellow members for visiting
Israel to attend a peace conference. The Iraqi parliament is dominated by Shia
Arabs, many of whom are pro-Iranian (and Iran continues to publicly call for the
destruction of Israel.
13, 2008: In the West Bank, a
Palestinian sneaked into an Israeli settlement and stabbed a nine year old boy.
Several dozen of the men from the settlement grabbed their weapons and went to
the nearby Palestine village and damaged cars and buildings with rocks and
bullets. Six Palestinians were wounded. The Israeli police could not go into
the Palestinian village right away because the army controls access to
Palestinian areas and it took some time to contact the army and coordinate
police-army operations to get the rioting settlers out of the village.