Israel: The Impossible Dream

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April 4, 2009: Israeli intelligence believes that Hamas is moving about a ton of weapons a day through the smuggling tunnels. About a third of this is explosives, the rest are components for rockets and other weapons such a mortar shells, small arms ammunition and the like. For the last three weeks, Egypt has been making a major effort to shut down the Palestinian smuggling tunnels. It's not too difficult to find the tunnel entrances, as the goods pile up on the Egyptian side and the tunnel operators often make little effort to hide their activities. However, it is believed that the bribes (to Egyptian police) necessary to operate a tunnel have gone way up, and the tunnels getting shut down are those that would not, or could not, pay.

Hamas is still in a state of disorder, unable to agree on a strategy. One faction wants to increase terrorist attacks, even if that brings the Israeli army back. The other faction wants to use non-violent protests that will encourage foreign support, and discourage more attacks from Israel.

Hamas can also not find a way to cooperate with Fatah, and present a united Palestinian team to negotiate a permanent peace deal with Israel. The Arab League is demanding that Israel negotiate a two-state deal with the Palestinians, or else the Arab world will get more anti-Israel than they have been for the last sixty years. The major problem is the lack of a united Palestinian negotiating team, and the Arab League has been unable to fix that. The Arab League wants Israel to withdraw from all territory they seized during the 1967 war, and do so right away. But after what happened when Israel withdrew from Gaza, there is no eagerness to do the same thing with the West Bank. The Arab League members are distraught over Palestinian inability to unite and negotiate with Israel. Attempts to force the Palestinian factions have not worked, making Arab leaders more pessimistic about making a deal with Israel.

Israel is making no progress with Hamas in getting them to release an Israeli soldier they kidnapped over two years ago. So the Israelis are trying to put pressure on Hamas by taking away some of the many privileges (education, entertainment, family visits) Hamas prisoners have. The Israeli prisoner has no privileges, and not even a visit from the Red Cross. Of the 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, about 35 percent are Hamas members.

April 1, 2009: Three rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, the largest number in one day since the January 18 truce. There continue to be gun battles along the Gaza security fence, as Israeli patrols battle Palestinians trying to plant roadside bombs, get through the fence or kidnap Israeli soldiers (for bargaining purposes).

March 30, 2009: Israel revealed that it launched air attacks, at the end of January, to destroy convoys of Iranian weapons being trucked into Egypt from Sudan. Neither Egypt nor Sudan made a public protest.

 

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