Israel: Safe, Secure And Under Fire

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January 10, 2011: Hamas has admitted that it cannot control all the Islamic terrorist factions in Gaza, and is trying to convince the most militant factions to stop firing rockets into Israel. Not only does rocket fire make another Israeli invasion more likely, it usually results in an Israeli air strike on Hamas targets. So far this year, there have been 20 mortar or rocket attacks from Gaza  into Israel. That's twice the rate for all of last year. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all of these attacks.

Surveys indicate Israelis felt more secure (from Palestinian terrorists, as well as economic problems) last year, compared to 2009. This is in contrast to three years of declines, mainly because of the worldwide recession. Terrorist incidents have been declining for years, and the economy continues to grow. But the constant threats from Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah and others, can be disturbing to Israeli calm.

Last year, nine Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorism, down from 15 in 2009, and the lowest number of deaths since the Palestinians began their latest terrorism campaign in 2000. Israelis deaths from Palestinian terrorism peaked in 2002, at 452, and have declined ever since. For the second year in a row, there were no suicide bombings inside Israel. It was quieter on the Gaza border, with only 365 rockets and mortar shells fired into Israel in 2010 (there were 558 in 2009 and over 3,700 in 2008). In late 2008, Israeli forces invaded Gaza, and 22 days later withdrew. Hamas has been more diligent in halting attacks since then.

Peace talks with the Palestinians are still stalled. The two Palestinian factions (Fatah and Hamas) are still feuding with each other. One of the few things the two can agree on is that Israel must be destroyed. The peace talks are seen as a tactic, not any kind of solution. Hamas has a ceasefire with Israel, but is still trying to build tunnels under the border fence, into Israel, so that Israelis can be kidnapped and taken into Gaza, to be used to get Hamas leaders released.

January 9, 2011:  A roadside bomb went off in the West Bank (near Ramallah), near a path used by Israeli patrols. No one was hurt.

January 8, 2011: In the West Bank, troops killed a Palestinian man carrying a bomb, who was trying to get close to the soldiers and detonate it. In the south, one of several rockets fired into Israel from Gaza wounded three foreign farm workers.

January 7, 2011: Along the Gaza border fence, one Israeli soldier was killed and four wounded in a friendly fire incident (a mortar shell exploded prematurely). Troops were after three Palestinians trying to plant a bomb next to the fence (and road used by Israeli patrols).

January 5, 2011: The UN has refused Lebanese calls for UN help in dealing with the Lebanese claim that the recent Israeli discovery of offshore gas deposits, are actually in waters that belong to Lebanon. In Gaza, one Palestinian was killed by Israeli troops, and another wounded. The Palestinians were trying to get through the border fence.

January 2, 2011: Police arrested five Palestinians in Jerusalem, and charged them plotting a rocket attacks on a sports stadium.

December 29, 2010: Israel announced the largest natural gas field discovery so far this century, off Haifa. The gas is worth nearly $100 billion. Two previous gas fields discovered in the same area had been worth less than $20 billion each.

 

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