the Palestinians applied to join the ICC International Criminal Court). This follows the Palestinian failure to get the UN to order Israeli troops withdrawn from the West Bank. The political theater at the UN, where Palestinian supporters (mainly other Moslem states) ignore the Palestinian worship of terrorism while declaring Israeli efforts to defend itself a war crime means that there is automatic support for just about anything the Palestinians want. Israel expects that Palestinian attempts to prosecute Israel for war crimes will backfire. That’s because far more Palestinians are killed by other Palestinians (and other Arabs) than by Israelis. For example over 2,500 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian Civil War since 2011. Hundreds were tortured to death and more than that were executed, often in gruesome ways, for being on the wrong side or for “blasphemy”. In Gaza hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting or executed by Hamas for various offenses (like disagreeing with Hamas rule.) In the last half century more far more Palestinians have been killed by Arabs than Israelis. This would appear to be a more significant target for ICC investigation than the much smaller number of Palestinians killed by Israelis. Arab countries block such investigations in the UN and ICC, usually with success. Despite potential problems with the ICC the long-term Palestinian plan is working. This bothers Israelis a great deal. That plan involves continually demanding UN help to obtain recognition there as a “sort of” state and build on that to get the UN to impose economic and military sanctions on Israel for imaginary war crimes. Arab oil states have been throwing their money around for decades in the UN, to get nations to go along with meaningless resolutions condemning Israel, so this plan has a chance of success. Arab oil money has also been spent to lobby potential allies throughout the West. This has worked quite well in Europe, less well in the Americas. Money talks at the UN and there are many states willing to sell their support if the price is right. Now the Palestinians want resolutions with teeth but that may prove a scam too far. For a growing number of Israelis there is fear that Arab lobbyists may end up doing more damage to Israel than Arab Islamic terrorists or soldiers ever could.
On December 31
Israel still has friends in Europe. For example Germany has been very useful in expanding the Israeli Navy. Germany has agreed to build four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Israel. Exact specifications were not released but apparently the design is based on the Meko 100, a 1,600 ton warship that has been built in many different versions. Israel wants the Germans to build what amounts to a larger version of their successful Saar family of warships for about $146 million each. This includes a large “genocide guilt” discount. Right now the largest Saar ships are the three 1,075 ton Saar 5s. In addition to surface warships German shipyards continue to build submarines for Israel. In September 2014 Israel received the fourth of six Dolphin class submarines from Germany. This the first of three new Dolphins that have a fuel cell based AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system which enables them to stay under water for over a week at a time. The Dolphins in general are also very quiet, and very difficult to hunt down and destroy. The first three Dolphins didn't have the AIP system. Germany will deliver the next Dolphin class boat in 2015 and the last one in 2019. The first three arrived in 1998-2000. The second three Dolphins cost about $650 million each, with Germany picking up a third of the cost on two of them. The first two Dolphins were paid for by Germany, as was most of the cost of the third one. This is more of German reparations for World War II atrocities against Jews. The three older boats have since been upgraded to include larger fuel capacity, converting more torpedo tubes to the larger 650mm size, and installing new electronics. The fuel and torpedo tube mods appear to have something to do with stationing the subs off the coast of Iran. Larger torpedo tubes allow the subs to carry longer range missiles. The larger fuel capacity makes it easier to move Dolphins from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Although Israel has a naval base on the Red Sea, Egypt, until 2012, did not allowed Israeli subs to use the Suez Canal. So the Dolphins were modified to go around Africa, if they had to.
In Gaza Egyptian security forces continue searching for, finding and destroying smuggling tunnels to Gaza. These are more difficult to build now that there is a 500 meter security zone along the Gaza border and more police scrutiny on the Egyptian side. Yet the tunnels can still be very lucrative, not just for consumer goods but also for moving Islamic terrorists and weapons back and forth. Egypt is in the midst of increasing the buffer zone along the Gaza border from 500 to 1,000 meters. This process involves buying and destroying over 1,200 additional buildings.
January 26, 2015: Israel has begun expanding its barriers along the Syrian border by adding a trench to the fence. Israel has also apparently moved one or more Iron Dome batteries north to help guard the Syrian border. The Israeli government also issued warnings to Lebanon and Hezbollah that any Hezbollah efforts to attack Israeli targets overseas (embassies, tourists, businesses) would bring retaliation against Hezbollah inside Lebanon and that might include non-Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Hezbollah announced over the weekend that it would not go to war with Israel but Israel knows from past experience that this does not rule out attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets outside the Middle East. This is what Hezbollah did, several times, after the beating they took during their 2006 war with Israel (which Hezbollah declared a victory for themselves but internal discussions were much less optimistic). The recent Israeli air strike in Syria that killed several Hezbollah leaders and an Iranian general working with them led Hezbollah to accuse Israel of “changing the (unwritten) rules” of who could attack who. Islamic terrorists consider it bad manners for the victims of their aggression to go after Islamic terrorist leaders. Neither side has ever really observed that unwritten rule but Hezbollah now asserts that it did. That was because Israeli security was so effective that Hezbollah generally did not even try to kill Israeli leaders. At the same time Hezbollah increased the security measures for its own leaders, making it more difficult (but not impossible) for Israel to get through. Hezbollah forces in Syria are more vulnerable because it is a combat zone and Hezbollah security against Israeli air strikes is much less effective. Hezbollah thought it had an arrangement with Israel whereby Hezbollah did not conduct operations along the Lebanese border and Israel would refrain from attacking Hezbollah targets. But since Hezbollah still calls destroying Israel their main goal, and their operations in Syria are only a diversion (forced them on their patron Iran), the Israelis consider it foolish to give Hezbollah any breaks.
Syria and Hezbollah are accusing Israel of being an al Qaeda/ISIL ally by attacking Hezbollah in Syria. The fact is that al Qaeda (and, so far, ISIL) has not made any attacks on Israel (mainly because it is so difficult) while Hezbollah has. Israel is no friend of al Qaeda or ISIL but Hezbollah is the more immediate threat. Syria has also been calling for the destruction of Israel since the 1940s and has regularly been on the receiving end of Israeli attacks because Syria has long provided sanctuary for all manner of terrorist groups, especially ones that tried to kill Jews.
In Gaza Hamas launched ten locally made rockets into the Mediterranean. This is the first such test of 2015. The last such test was in December. Hamas has resumed rocket production and since August has test fired dozens of unguided rockets (towards the Mediterranean so as not to violate the ceasefire). Hamas is building some rockets with a range of over 50 kilometers.
January 25, 2015: In Egypt Islamic radicals attacked celebrations of the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution that overthrew the Mubarak government. The violence left at least 18 dead. Many Egyptians are upset that the 2011 revolution changed so little. The problem was that ousting Mubarak did nothing to the thousands of wealthy families that actually run Egypt and long benefitted from Mubarak rule (in return for loyalty and support). When the Moslem Brotherhood got elected to form a government they made the mistake of giving into their radical faction and trying to impose Islamic law on all Egyptians. This was very unpopular and the Moslem Brotherhood was overthrown by another popular uprising in 2013. Then another (like Mubarak) military man was elected president and it was back to business as usual. One side effect of that was a court dismissing most of the charges against Mubarak who is now apparently going to escape any real punishment, as are his sons. That decision brought more protestors out not enough to overthrow the new military government. Most Egyptians was to see if the new government can get the economy going and restore order. The new government probably will, but at the cost of any real efforts to curb corruption.
Egypt announced that its security forces had killed 2008 Islamic terrorists in 2014 and arrested 955 suspects (half of them later released without charge). The violence continues, but less and less so as time goes on. The government points out that Egypt has lost $40 billion in tourist revenue since 2011 because of Islamic terrorist violence and that resonates with most of the 90 million Egyptians.
January 21, 2015: In Jerusalem a Palestinian used a knife to attack fellow passengers on a bus. He wounded twelve civilians before he was shot and captured by nearby security personnel. Fatah and Hamas praised the attacker and encouraged more Israeli Arabs and Palestinians to do the same. The attacker had entered Israel illegally from the West Bank. In the wake of this attack the American embassy warned Americans in Israel to stay off public transit and stay away from the Lebanese and Syrian borders.
January 20, 2015: In Gaza someone set off a home-made bomb in the car belonging to the Hamas police. This is believed to be a protest against Hamas efforts to suppress violence against Europeans in Gaza. Hamas is doing this because many European nations contribute cash to Hamas and provide some diplomatic support. But the non-Hamas Islamic terrorist groups are more extreme and want to destroy all non-Moslem states now. Hamas prefers a more long-term approach and openly calls attacks on Europe now premature and self-defeating. Hamas is having a hard time controlling the extreme Islamic terrorists. The lure of extremism is powerful and several hundred Hamas members recently defected and formed a branch of ISIL.
January 19, 2015: In Gaza Hamas security personnel halted non-Hamas Islamic terrorists from attacking the French cultural center. This attack was in support of recent Islamic terrorist attacks in France. The UN recently revealed that Gaza was the most dangerous place in the world for UN employees. In 2014 61 UN employees were killed in Gaza, only eleven of them during the 50 Day War in July and August.
January 18, 2015: In the north (the Syrian side of the border in Golan heights) an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a missile at a Hezbollah vehicle killing seven people. Among the dead were several Hezbollah leaders and an Iranian general. One the Hezbollah leaders was planning terrorist attacks on Israeli targets. This made Iran and Hezbollah very angry.
In the West Bank police arrested two Jewish settlers for shooting and wounding two Palestinians earlier in the month during a confrontation between Palestinians and settlers.
January 16, 2015: In the south (northern Gaza) Israeli border guards wounded a Palestinian man who got too close to the border fence.
January 15, 2015: Hezbollah admitted that a senior member of Hezbollah leadership had been arrested five months ago and accused of spying for Israel. This was an embarrassing admission, but it was intended to squelch even more troublesome rumors.
January 12, 2015: Israel shut down three Islamic charities in the West Bank because the main purpose of the three organizations seemed to be generating Arab anger over imaginary Israeli threats to Moslem holy places in Jerusalem. This propaganda has produced a lot of Arab violence in Jerusalem.
January 9, 2015: In Gaza a bomb went off at a Palestinian owned bank, destroying an ATM. Islamic terrorists opposed to Hamas are believed responsible for the growing number of attacks like this.
January 7, 2015: The Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, France that killed 17 were condemned by Hamas and Fatah. Both organizations receive much cash and diplomatic support from France and considers Islamic terrorist attacks in France counterproductive for the Palestinians.
January 6, 2015: Recent anti-Semitic violence in France has Israel scrambling to handle even more French Jews expected to head for Israel. As many as 120,000 French Jews could arrive in Israel during the next year or so. This is part of a trend. Israel saw the number of Jews migrating to Israel up 32 percent over 2013 and expect that to keep increasing in the next year by at least 50 percent over 2014. This despite a 15 year Palestinian terror campaign meant to make Israel unlivable for Jews. Another odd aspect of this surge in migrants is that in 2014, for the first time, the leading country sending such migrants was France. The number of French migrants actually doubled in 2014 compared to 2013. That was no accident.