Israel: The Russian Connection

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September22, 2008:  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 Israel.

The Israeli 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.

Several 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.

September 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.

September 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.

September 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.

September 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.

 

 

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