Israel: Talk Is Cheap, Change Is Hard

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October 16, 2012: Palestinian officials have largely abandoned any pretense of negotiating with Israel over Palestinian independence. Instead, the Palestinians (especially Fatah) are going to the UN and the international community in general, hoping to obtain external support for helping to destroy Israel. The Palestinians don’t say that to the UN but much of their government controlled media does. The only difference between Fatah and Hamas is that the latter is actively preparing for a “violent solution” (stockpiling rockets and training terrorists) while Fatah believes that only an international coalition can assist the Palestinians in destroying Israel. Many Israelis understand spoken and/or written Arabic and can see for themselves what Palestinian media says about how to deal with Israel (there’s little talk of getting along in the long-term), which is why Israeli public opinion tends to back violent solution towards continued Palestinian attacks. The Palestinians have been successful in getting most of the international media to ignore the openly proclaimed (only in Arabic) Palestinian goal of destroying Israel. This encourages the Palestinians to continue with their plan to destroy Israel. Many foreign diplomats and heads of state do understand the real Palestinian plan and pressure Palestinian officials to make peace. The Palestinians simply ignore this because they can get away with doing that, at least so far. Many Arab states have been quietly pressuring the Palestinians to be realistic but that is asking Palestinians to change self-destructive behavior patterns they have always practiced. Talk is cheap, change is hard.

Meanwhile more Palestinians (about a quarter) and Israelis (about a third) have come to favor a one-state solution in which Palestinians would be incorporated in Israel as an autonomous entity. This is a long shot, but many Israelis and Palestinians see it as preferable to any of the other alternatives.

Israel leaders admitted that the country (and much of the Middle East) is increasingly being attacked by Iranian (or Iranian backed) hackers and that Israel is increasing its Cyber War defenses to deal with the problem. While Israel is the most vulnerable nation in the region (because of the number of PCs and networks), it is also the best protected. The recent surge of Iranian attacks did much less damage in Israel than in Arab countries.

Palestinian terror groups continue to fire rockets into Israel, despite the truce with Hamas. So far this month, about 40 rockets have landed in Israel (others land in Gaza or explode when launched). Israeli warplanes or attack helicopters usually retaliate after each attack. Often there are no casualties, as terrorists know to evacuate their facilities for a while after an attack on Israel.

Hamas leaders continue to call on their followers, and all Palestinians, to increase their efforts to kidnap Israelis. This is because Israel will go to great lengths to recover kidnapped citizens, especially if they are soldiers or police. But this often involves commando raids, which kill many of the kidnappers, and police investigations that capture and jail for long terms those involved in kidnapping plots. Thus the need for Palestinian leaders to continue encouraging their followers to undertake the dangerous task of kidnapping Israelis.  

October 15, 2012: Many parts of the Iranian UAV shot down over Israel on the 6th were not found and taken away after the military closed the crash area for several days and sent in a collection team. Locals began finding some parts and a TV station sent in a camera team and broadcast video of the many parts remaining. The military was embarrassed but said that they collected enough parts to positively identify the UAV. Collecting all the parts is necessary to get maximum information about the aircraft.

Israel kept responding to recent daily rocket attacks by launching three air raids in Gaza within 24 hours. One of them killed a senior terrorist leader (Hisham al Saedini, the head of Tawhid wal-Jihad/Mujahedeen Shura Council). This group is one of the smaller terrorist groups in Gaza that has persisted in launching rockets against Israel despite ceasefires negotiated by Hamas. Mujahedeen Shura Council is also one of the most strenuous critics of Hamas (for not being radical enough). One of the Israeli attacks today was against a group of Palestinians setting up a rocket launcher.

October 11, 2012: The head (Mohammed Badie) of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood (the largest political party in the country) called on all Moslems to support violent efforts to free Jerusalem from Israeli rule. Badie insisted that using the UN or negotiating with Israel would not work. While most Egyptian leaders want to maintain the peace with Israel, popular opinion is increasingly turning against peace.

In Lebanon the head of Hezbollah admitted that it was his group that had launched the Iranian UAV that flew out into the Mediterranean and then entered southern Israel on October 6th. The UAV was spotted immediately and after being photographed by aircraft, shot down over an unpopulated area. Iran claimed that this revealed vulnerabilities in Israeli air defenses. It didn’t, but Iran and Hezbollah hailed the UAV operation as a great victory. In practical terms, it wasn’t. But neither Hezbollah nor Iran pay much attention to practicality. Meanwhile, Hezbollah has otherwise maintained the truce (after the 2006 war) in southern Lebanon and along the Israeli border. There have been few rocket firings (and all apparently by non-Hezbollah groups) and raids across the border. This was another reason for the UAV operation, to remind everyone that Hezbollah and Israel were still at war. But because Israel can still do a lot of damage to Hezbollah, the Islamic terrorist group prefers a ceasefire.

 

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