Israel: Hamas Blinks

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April 13, 2011: During two overnight raids in the West Bank, Israeli troops arrested seven wanted terrorists. Israel reopened road access to Gaza, which had been closed for seven days because of the large number of rockets and mortar shells fired into Israel. But Hamas has managed to keep the peace, and force smaller terror groups to hold their fire.

Recent Wikileaks revelations detailed late 2009 Israeli talks with American diplomats in which the Israelis revealed that Hezbollah has installed so many rockets in southern Lebanon, in so many different locations, that if there were another war, Israel was preparing to deal with 500 rockets fired at them a day, over 60 days. This would be despite aggressive efforts to use bombers and artillery to shut down many of the launching/storage sites. Israel also criticized American efforts to strengthen the Lebanese Army. The Americans believe that the Lebanese troops would turn on Hezbollah in a future war, but the Israelis point out that Hezbollah has been encouraging more Shia to join the army, and has been striving to persuade or bribe army officers to side with the Islamic radicals.

April 12, 2011: Hamas has managed to convince or coerce the other terrorist groups in Gaza to stop firing on Israel. If they can keep this up, Israel says it will re-open the roads to Gaza (which have been closed for a week now.)

In contrast to the terrorism and violence in Gaza, the West Bank Fatah party is pointing out that it has reduced corruption considerably, to the point where much of the money allocated to infrastructure and new government services in the last two years, was actually spent in those areas. Thus Fatah believes they should be allowed to establish a Palestinian State in the West Bank. This, Fatah believes, would provide the moral and political authority to regain control of Gaza as well. But Hamas appears determined to retain control of Gaza by force, and no one is lining up to provide Fatah with troops with which to take Gaza by force.

Israel's new Iron Dome anti-missile system appears to have worked, after two batteries were deployed to protect Ashkelon (the coastal cities north of Gaza) and Beersheba those settlements in the Negev desert north of Gaza.) Iron Dome cannot stop the short range (under 10 kilometers) rockets, but is meant for the longer range ones Hamas has imported. These 122mm rockets can reach the more heavily populated areas north of Gaza. So far, Iron Dome has succeeded in intercepting rockets headed for populated areas. Iron Dome calculates where he rocket detected is going to land. If the rocket is headed for an unpopulated area (as most are, because they are unguided), no interceptor is fired. Now the military wants at least ten more Iron Dome batteries, so that major military bases and cities can have some protection from long range rocket attack.

Israeli police revealed that they had recently arrested five members of a Hamas terror cell that had been operating in Jerusalem for three years, and carried out several operations.

Hamas has benefitted from the recent revolution in Egypt. Dozens of smugglers and terrorists have been freed from Egyptian prisons and made their way back to Gaza.

April 11, 2011: In Sudan, a car travelling north towards Egypt, exploded. One of the dead was an Hamas official. Sudan blamed Israel for this, claiming that an Israeli aircraft must have fired a missile. No proof was offered, other than fragments from a Hellfire missile. But these could have been obtained from any number of Islamic terror groups who have lost members to Hellfire attacks. The Sudanese claimed that a U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship was used for the attack. The helicopter was said to have flown in from the sea.  

April 10, 2011:  Hamas and Israel agreed to another truce, after more four days of violence. But this time Hamas accepts responsibility for other Islamic terror groups operating in Gaza. Israel "accepted" this truce offer by not responding to twelve rockets and mortar shells fired into southern Israel (and causing no casualties.) Hamas is expected to insure that there are no more such attacks. This latest round of violence saw over 150 rockets and mortar shells fired into Israel, and 18 Palestinians (many of them key Hamas personnel) killed in retaliation. Hamas found the Israeli ability to find and kill key terrorist operatives particularly disturbing. Some quiet time is needed to figure out how the Israelis are doing that. Israel revealed that it had gone after eleven different terrorist operations in Gaza.

April 8, 2011:  Even the UN condemned the Palestinian attack on an Israeli school bus, and called for the violence to stop.

April 7, 2011: Palestinian terrorists next to  the Gaza security fence fired an RPG at a clearly marked (it was yellow) Israeli school bus. The bus was hit and two people (the driver and a teenage student) were injured. This caused a lot of anger in Israel, and retaliation strikes were ordered. Particular attention is paid to detecting Palestinians setting up rockets to fire from northern Gaza, and firing on them first. This causes most of the Palestinian deaths. Israeli retaliation also concentrated on known terrorist weapons storage areas and bomb building workshops. In the next four days, these attacks would do as much damage as all the retaliatory attacks in the last six weeks. The Israeli government has warned Hamas that the current wave of terror attacks will almost certainly trigger another major military invasion of Gaza, which will strive to destroy Hamas.

April 4, 2011: Israeli prosecutors indicted Dirar Abu Sisi, the key Hamas operative behind the Gaza based  rocket manufacturing, and planner of how best to use these rockets against Israel. Sisi was kidnapped, from a train in Ukraine, two months ago, and secretly transported to Israel. Sisi is married to a Ukrainian and was seeking travel documents so his family could move there. Sisi works in Gaza, with a cover job as a power plant engineer.  Sisi was trained in missile technology at Ukrainian schools.

April 3, 2011:  Four more Iron Dome batteries are being purchased, and should be in service within two years. Israel announced that an air strike had killed three Palestinians who were part of a group planning to kidnap Israelis.

March 31, 2011: The Syrian government blames the ongoing demonstrations demanding reforms, on Israel.  But Israel points out that Iran and Hezbollah are apparently supplying security personnel who have no qualms about firing on Syrian civilians.

Israel released photos showing 950 Hezbollah military positions (bunkers, rocket storage sites, observations posts) built in southern Lebanon since 2006. The UN peacekeeping force was supposed to prevent this, but Hezbollah threatened a terror campaign against the peacekeepers if there was any interference. This resulted in a few attacks, just to make the point, and the UN troops backed off.

March 27, 2011: Hamas and Israel agreed to another truce, which did not last long.

March 25, 2011: Israel's new Iron Dome anti-missile system was deployed for the first time. In the West Bank, Palestinian police arrested two members of the Islamic Jihad terror group, and accused them in connection with the recent terror bombing in Jerusalem.

March 23, 2011: Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel.  A bomb went off in Jerusalem, killing a British tourist and wounding 30 other people. It was the first such attack in six years.

 

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