While the rockets and air attacks grab all the headlines, Israel is fighting a less violent war against Palestinian terrorist groups. This includes arresting Palestinian businessmen who smuggle cash and goods to Hamas (in Gaza) and Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank that are recruited (or sometimes hired with that cash) in the West Bank. Israel has an extensive informant network in the West Bank and some cooperation from the Fatah security forces in the West Bank. This enables Israeli police to spot new terrorist cells in the West Bank and make arrests. As a result there have been very few Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel over the last seven years. This despite the heated rhetoric from Palestinian media calling for more of these attacks.
The new Israeli security fence on the Egyptian border has halted the flow of illegal African immigrants. Some 60,000 Africans have sneaked into Israel in the last few years, but last month only 54 got across the border and all were caught. Before the fence was built as many as 2,000 a month got in.
In Lebanon Hezbollah continues to support the pro-Iranian Assad government in Syria. Hezbollah men have been seen fighting rebels in Syria. This has caused a loss of political support in Lebanon where most people hate Assad and support the rebels. The increased economic sanctions on Iran have meant less money for Hezbollah. All this has distracted Hezbollah from its plans for another war against Israel. Hezbollah is still strong in southern Lebanon but if the Syrian rebels win, Hezbollah will lose a major supporter. This would strengthen anti-Hezbollah groups in Lebanon and lead to curbing Hezbollah’s power.
November 4, 2012: A mentally ill Palestinian man ignored Israeli warnings to stay away from the Gaza border fence and was shot dead. Palestinian terrorists are constantly trying to cross the fence or plant bombs on it.
November 3, 2012: For the first time in four decades Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone on the Israel border. The three armored vehicles were apparently fighting rebels and soon withdrew. Israel complained to the UN, which is in charge of the zone.
October 31, 2012: In the West Bank Israeli police arrested five men and charged them with terrorism.
October 30, 2012: Israeli police entered the West Bank and arrested thirty members of a Hamas terror cell. Hamas has not been able to launch terror attacks into Israel from Gaza and has been trying to establish terrorist cells in the West Bank. Israeli police and intelligence, with help from Fatah (that controls the West Bank), have so far prevented this.
October 29, 2012: Gaza terrorists, including Hamas, fired 18 rockets at Israel. Most of these rockets were longer range factory made models and aimed towards Be'er Sheva.
In Sudan two Iranian warships arrived for a visit. This was seen as a gesture of support after an Israeli air raid a week ago in Sudan that destroyed an Iranian financed weapons factory. Israel will not admit to the air raid and Iran will not admit to owning the factory but both countries are involved in a low key war along the Iranian weapons smuggling route through Sudan and into Egypt.
October 28, 2012: Two more factory made rockets (longer range 122mm models) were fired at Be'er Sheva and were not intercepted by Iron Dome missiles because the computer predicted the missiles would land in an unpopulated area. Israel air raids on Gaza killed a Hamas leader and Hamas promised retaliation
October 27, 2012: Israel aircraft attacked terrorist targets in Gaza in retaliation for rocket attacks on Israel. One of the targets was a rocket being set up for firing, which exploded on the ground instead.
In the West Bank Israeli police arrested a local Hamas politician and accused him of terrorism.
In Syria two senior Hamas officials were killed by Syrian troops in a Palestinian refugee camp. This was south of Damascus, in the largest Syrian refugee camps (Yarmouk, population 150,000, about 30 percent of the Palestinians in Syria). Hamas has gotten involved in the fighting between Palestinians loyal to the camp leadership (a Palestinian terrorist organization, which has long enjoyed the support of the Assads) and Palestinians who support the Syrian rebels. Palestinians realize that if the rebels win, and it looks like they will, they will be driven out unless pro-rebel Palestinians take control of Palestinian refugee camps (which are actually separate towns or neighborhoods occupied and run by Palestinians). Hamas had long received support from the Assads. But under pressure from major donors (oil-rich Sunni Arabs) Hamas turned on the Iran-backed Assads. Earlier this year Hamas moved its headquarters out of Syria and openly denounced the Assaads. Hamas apparently also told the Syrian Palestinians to oppose Assad if they wanted Hamas and other Arab states to persuade the new rebel government to allow “loyal” Palestinians to remain and avoid retribution. The 600,000 Palestinians in Syria are 1.7 percent of the Syrian population.
October 26, 2012: Terrorists in Gaza have fired over a hundred rockets into Israel in the past week and were warned that Israel would send in ground troops if the attacks did not stop. The smaller terrorist groups in Gaza ignored a ceasefire negotiated by Egypt, which Hamas refused to enforce (for fear of triggering a civil war with the more radical terrorists).