Palestinians in the West Bank are threatening an uprising against their government and complete anarchy if Israel does not withdraw its troops and grant independence to the West Bank. Israel considers this an absurd demand, since withdrawing from Gaza in 2005 turned out to be a disaster, more for the Palestinians there than for Israel. Pulling out of the West Bank has been considered but there’s too much chance of anarchy and more violence. Israelis find the Palestinians amazingly self-destructive, largely because they remain officially (via their media and comments by officials) committed to the goal of destroying Israel, yet pretend to try and make peace. As one Israeli official commented, “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The latest Palestinian demand, in return for keeping the current peace talks going. is for Israel to release more convicted terrorists from prison. Ignoring the fact that many of these terrorists go right back to trying to kill Israelis once they are free, Palestinians ignore the fact that, as a democracy, Israeli politicians who let that happen face getting voted out of office.
The U.S. recently announced it was giving Israel $429 million to buy more Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries and buying more of the Tamir missiles the system uses. The U.S. had already contributed nearly a billion dollars for Iron Dome development and procurement. This latest effort by the U.S. will help Israel put fifteen Iron Dome batteries into service and build up the number of the Tamir missiles. Since 2010 Israel has received eight batteries of Iron Dome anti-rocket missiles. And about two thousand Tamirs.
The Syrian government continues to accuse Israel of sending agents to aid the rebels while some rebel factions accuse Israel of helping the Assad government.
There have been over 70 rocket attacks from Gaza since March 12th compared to 11 for all of 2013. This is largely due to Islamic terrorist group Islamic Jihad (an Iran backed terror group that is a Hamas rival in Gaza) threatening armed rebellion against Hamas because of perceived treason by Hamas against Islam. Meanwhile Islamic Jihad continues to take aid, and instructions, from Iran. Islamic Jihad takes credit for most of these rocket attacks. This aggression got Islamic Jihad criticized by the UN, which is usually condemning Israel for defending itself. The consensus is that Islamic Jihad is trying to goad Israel into attacking Gaza again. Such an attack would force Hamas to try to defend Gaza which would cause heavy Hamas casualties and make it easier for Islamic Jihad to oust Hamas by force. Many in Hamas see this as an effort by Iran to weaken Hamas, because Hamas began openly supporting the Syrian rebels in late 2013 and Iran was not pleased. That cost Hamas over a million dollars a month in Iranian cash and caused a lot of dissent within Hamas. Some Hamas men have gone to Syria to fight against the rebels and Hamas is trying to work out some kind of deal that would allow them to maintain support from both Iran and the Sunni Arab oil states that support the Syrian rebels. That would be quite a feat, but for an organization that believes it will eventually destroy Israel, nothing is impossible. Hamas is also facing more pressure in Gaza from moderates who are angry over the economic problems and Hamas attempts to impose Islamic conservative lifestyle rules. Hamas sees these moderates as potential traitors and probably allies with pro-Fatah groups.
Over 1,200 have died in Egypt since July 2013 when the army ousted recently elected Moslem Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi. The violence continues as do the trials of over 1,200 Moslem Brotherhood members. So far 529 have been convicted and sentenced to death because police were killed during efforts to suppress the violence. That many executions are not expected, but it shows the degree of hostility towards the Moslem Brotherhood. The violence carried out by this group since Morsi was ousted has crippled the economy and make life miserable for many Egyptians.
Egyptian counter terrorist operations continue in Sinai. The July 2013 removal of Morse also unleashed Islamic terrorist violence against Egyptian security forces and government officials in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt responded by sending more troops, armored vehicles and helicopters into Sinai and these have been making raids all over the area ever since. The 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel included provisions for using Sinai as a neutral zone, with limitations on how many troops and weapons Egypt could place there. Israel is looking the other way as Egypt violates that clause. It’s more likely that Egypt and Israel have another, less formal and secret agreement to not only allow more Egyptian troops into Sinai but also to coordinate intelligence and counter-terror operations by both countries. The Egyptian operations greatly reduced the number of Islamic terrorists and attacks in Sinai. But there are still several hundred Islamic terrorists active their and these survivors have been resourceful in avoiding the constant patrols and raids. The Islamic terrorists have murdered some 40 known police informers in Sinai in the last six months and the security forces have had problems recruiting replacements.
March 24, 2014: An Israeli patrol on the Egyptian border may have come under fire. The troops heard shots from the Egyptian side but none of the Israelis were hit and the troops did not return fire.
In the Sinai Egyptian troops arrested 26 Islamic terrorism suspects. Elsewhere in Sinai gunmen shot dead a policeman.
March 22, 2014: An Israeli raid in the West Bank, to arrest a wanted Hamas terrorist, triggered a violent reaction by neighbors and three Palestinians were killed as the police fought their way out. Decades of anti-Semitic and “destroy Israel” propaganda from their leaders has convinced many Palestinians that trying to kill Israelis is an obligation, not a crime and Israeli attempts to defend themselves using force is a war crime.
March 21, 2014: The U.S. is very upset that another Israeli official criticized American policy in the region. In this case it was the Israeli Defense Minister who criticized American policy towards the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the Ukraine as “weak.” This reflects the attitude of many Israelis who, as the target of many Iranian threats and within range of Iranian missiles, are more alarmed at Iranian nuclear ambitions than those safely ensconced in North America. The U.S. wants the Israeli Defense Minister to apologize and get with the American partly line.
In Egypt several large Moslem Brotherhood demonstrations turned violent resulting in one death and over a dozen wounded.
March 20, 2014: Israel revealed they had found another tunnel from Gaza into Israel, the fourth one found in the last 18 months. The latest one was 1,800 meters long and extended 300 meters into Israel. Hamas dismissed this find as a tunnel that had been abandoned because of a partial collapse. But the Israelis said the tunnel had been worked on recently and equipment, like generators, was found in it. The tunnel was lined with reinforcing concrete and was 9-20 meters (30-63 feet) underground. Three of these tunnels were near the town of Khan Younis and apparently part of a plan to kidnap Israelis for use in trades (for prisoner or whatever) with Israel.
March 19, 2014:
: Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian army bases near the border in retaliation for a roadside bomb which, the day before, hit an Israeli border patrol and wounded four soldiers. Israel blamed Hezbollah forces working in Syria with the Syrian Army for this. Israel also holds Hezbollah responsible for two similar attacks on March 5th and 14th. Syrian Army bases are easier to find and are where Hezbollah men often hang out. Israel also believes that Syria is compensating Hezbollah with long range rockets and other weapons. Israel has been bombing such shipments when they are detected heading for Lebanon
and holding Syria partially responsible for Hezbollah attacks against Israel from Syrian territory.
Although Russian diplomats and leaked Syrian documents indicate that Hezbollah has assured Israel that there would be no attacks by them on the border, the bombing yesterday is believed to be the work of trained Hezbollah terrorists sent to Syria to fight rebels. These Hezbollah men underwent years of training and indoctrination to prepare then to make (probably suicidal) attacks on Israel and now they were diverted to Syria to fight fellow Moslems. Not all of these Hezbollah killers could ignore their training and Israel believes that many prefer to go after Israel, even if it means disobeying orders. Other Israelis believe these attacks have official sanction and are being made to “punish” Israel for all those Israeli air attacks on convoys of Syrian and Russian missiles Hezbollah tries to move to Lebanon.
In Egypt several large Moslem Brotherhood demonstrations turned violent resulting in three deaths and over 30 wounded.
March 18, 2014: Israeli artillery fired on targets in Syria in response to a bomb going off on the border earlier in the day.
In the Sinai Egyptian troops killed three Islamic terrorists over the weekend and arrested 17 suspects. Many of the raids were near Gaza, where Egypt believes many Sinai Islamic terrorists can find sanctuary and supplies of weapons and other equipment. This is why Egypt continues to seek out and destroy Gaza smuggling tunnels.
March 17, 2014: In the West Bank a Palestinian man was caught at a checkpoint with a knife and a Palestinian flag. He later confessed that he was on his way to Israel to carry out a stabbing attack.
March 16, 2014: In Gaza Hamas security forces physically blocked locals from holding a pro-Fatah rally. Seven Fatah supporters were arrested. Despite encouragement, and demands, from Arab donor states Hamas and Fatah cannot resolve their differences and provide a united leadership for Palestinians this has not happened and shows no signs of happening any time soon.
March 15, 2014: The only electricity plant in Gaza shut down because of a lack of fuel. Hamas blamed Israel although the real culprit is feuding between Hamas and Fatah over who should pay for the power plant fuel.
In Egypt (Cairo) Islamic terrorists killed six soldiers at a checkpoint and were chased away by other troops. Two bombs were left behind and troops disabled them.
March 14, 2014: Israeli artillery fired at a Hezbollah base in Lebanon in response for recent Hezbollah violence on the border. Israeli warplanes bombed seven targets in Gaza in response to recent rocket attacks on Israel.
March 13, 2014: In Gaza Islamic Jihad agreed to a truce with Israel, brokered by Egypt. But after the truce went into effect there were more rocket attacks on Israel from Islamic Jihad members.
In Egypt (Cairo) Islamic terrorists shot dead an army officer.
March 12, 2014: Egypt revealed that it had closed over 1,300 Palestinian smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, most of them in the last six months. Officials also revealed that they had found and killed the Islamic terrorist responsible for making a bomb used in a January attack that killed four people in Cairo. The bomb builder was tracked to a Cairo suburb but when police sought to arrest the man there was a gun battle and the suspect was shot dead.
March 11, 2014: In Egypt a bomb went off outside the Israeli embassy, damaging a police car (thought to be the real target of the attack.)
March 10, 2014: On the Jordanian border a Jordanian judge (of Palestinian descent) attacked Israeli border guards and was shot dead. Jordan protested the incident and Palestinians called it a murder, ignoring the clear evidence that the man had attacked while screaming “God is great.”