Israel: Hamas Makes A Controversial Deal


February 10, 2012:  Israeli intelligence believes that ten percent of the homes in Lebanon, along the Israeli border, are used to store or launch over 100,000 Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel. At the moment Hezbollah is more concerned with what is going on in Syria, which has long served as a source of supply (from Iran) and a sanctuary. But the current revolution in Syria aims to replace the pro-Iran minority government with one that would be hostile to Iran and Hezbollah.

The inability of the UN or Arab League to organize aid for the Syrian opposition has encouraged the Syrian dictatorship to increase its attack on their own population. There has not been much impact on the border with Israel. Most Syrians fleeing the violence head for Lebanon or Turkey. If the Syrian dictatorship succeeds in bullying its population into submission it would be a great victory for Iran.

In Egypt, unrest continues because the army, and its many corrupt officers, is still running a caretaker government and because the unrest has caused higher unemployment (because tourists have stopped coming and foreign and local investment has slowed down a lot because of the uncertainty). Fearing that the Islamic conservatives, who won most of the seats in recent parliamentary elections, would prosecute corrupt army officers and dismantle the economic empire the army has built over the last few decades, the military is more actively attacking demonstrators, journalists, and organizations that advise on how to make a democracy work. The urban democrats are uneasy about the Islamic conservative political parties and the possibility of a religious dictatorship. But Islamic conservatives, at least most of them, insist this will not happen.

Israel is increasing its defenses on the Egyptian border. This will make it more difficult for illegal migrants, as well as smugglers and terrorists to get in. Egypt is having more problems on its side of the border, especially in Sinai where the Bedouin tribes are becoming more aggressive. This is partly because many police were withdrawn from Sinai to handle the pro-democracy demonstrations.  The police are as corrupt as the army and allies with the military.

February 4, 2012:  For the twelfth time in the last year anti-Israel terrorists bombed the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel. Israel is building a terminal for receiving shipments of liquefied natural gas, to make up for the missing Egyptian gas until next year, when Israel's own offshore gas fields will be producing enough gas.

February 1, 2012: In Qatar, representatives of Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement. The head of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, becomes president of the reunited Palestinian people, at least until new elections could be held. The senior Hamas leadership, which does not live in Gaza, conducted the negotiations. This resulted in open protests from Hamas leaders in Gaza, who are not willing to submit to Fatah leadership, even on a temporary basis. It's unclear if this means Hamas will tone down its demand for Israel to be destroyed or Fatah will become more public with its similar demands (which are usually confined to its Arab language media).

Seven rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel but there were no injuries.