Israel: Strange And Unexpected Alliances

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July 7, 2015:   In Gaza the Hamas fiscal crises has gotten worse as Egypt continues to block access (because Hamas provides sanctuary for anti-Israel Islamic terrorists). Then there is UN, Western and Arab aid donors pressure on Hamas to stop diverting aid to military uses. There has been so much of this that none of the 19,000 Gaza housing units destroyed in mid-2014 have yet been rebuilt. Hamas considers their military needs as the highest priority, especially rebuilding military tunnels in Gaza and into Israel. In response to that Israeli commanders responsible for the Gaza border are asking, unsuccessfully so far, for permission to attack the tunnels headed for Israel before they reach Israel itself.

Despite all this Israel has agreed to allow massive amounts of construction materials into Gaza. In an effort to interfere with the Hamas efforts to divert this aid Israel is quietly helping Qatar funnel over a billion dollars’ worth of reconstruction aid into Gaza. This is apparently done with the understanding that Qatar will prevent Hamas from diverting this aid to military purposes. Qatar has a better chance of doing this than the UN, Israel or any other foreign aid organization.

Palestinian terrorism against Israel continues even though there have been few of the spectacular attacks inside Israel like the ones that characterized the early (2000-2005) years of the latest Palestinian terror offensive. Since 2005 Israel has been able to keep one step ahead of the Palestinian terrorists and suppressed most of the planned violence. But Palestinian leaders keep encouraging the violence and in the last year the number of failed Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails has increased 26 percent to nearly 5,700. Such arrests last peaked in 2010 and until last year were declining. A lot of the new terrorist activity is the result of more aggressiveness by Hamas in the West Bank. Israeli police recently revealed that over the last few months they have shut down a large Hamas terrorism operation in the West Bank and made 40 arrests. That investigation apparently led to information showing a similar Hamas operation aimed at Fatah control of the West Bank.

Israeli police today revealed that they have arrested nine Israeli Druze for attacks on ambulances carrying Syrians allowed into Israel for medical treatment. For several years Israel has been letting badly wounded Syrians in for medical treatment but with Islamic terror groups like Al Nusra (allied with al Qaeda) and ISIL (condemned by al Qaeda) now operating on the border been threatening Syrian Druze the situation has become tense. This led some Israeli Druze to assume that wounded Syrians were al Nusra or ISIL men and there have been some violent attacks on ambulances. One June 22nd attack led to the murder of the Syrian patient. Soldiers have been injured trying to protect ambulance crews and patients. For the last few weeks Israeli police have been tracking down the Israeli Druze responsible for the violence and now believe they have most of them in custody. Israeli Druze leaders have condemned the attacks and that helped the police investigation because the Druze can be very secretive (a centuries old trait).

Since late 2014 al Nusra rebels have come to control most of the border adjacent to Israel. This creates problems with the Israeli Druze who fear for the safely of the 500,000 Syrian Druze. Al Nusra is temporarily allied with ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) and both these groups, especially ISIL, are very hostile to Druze (a semi-Islamic sect considered heretical by most mainline Moslems). Over a hundred Druze have already been murdered by Islamic terrorists in Syria and there is a sense of desperation among Israeli Druze. Al Nusra apologized for Druze their men killed recently but ISIL is unapologetic. The 130,000 Israeli Druze have been pressuring Israel for over a year to rescue or help protect Druze living across the border in Syria. Israel has agreed to help but the details have not been made public. The solution could be either allowing Syrian Druze into Israel and provide refuge or moving into the border areas where the Syrian Druze live and establishing a “safe zone.” This would preserve the lands of Syrian Druze and not turn them into refugees, but would also be more expensive (in cash and lives) for Israel by establishing a new border. Meanwhile the Syrian Army is having some success in holding onto some of the southern border and even retaking some of it from al Nusra and other rebels.

Most of the Druze live in Lebanon and Syria and they have always sought protection from the government in power. As a persecuted minority, this was a matter of survival. But that means Druze loyalty is tied to the protection provided. Thus in 2012 the 20,000 Druze living in the Golan Heights (captured from Syria in 1967) openly turned against the Syrian government for the first time. Before that most (over 80 percent) of these Druze refused the offer of Israeli citizenship, feeling that they still owned loyalty to Syria (who never gave up trying to get the Golan Heights back). Since 2012 many more Druze have applied for Israeli citizenship. The Syrian government had long treated the Syrian Druze well, as long as they supported the minority Alawite dictatorship that ruled the country. The increasing violence against Druze in Syria has turned these normally pro-Syria Druze against the Assad dictatorship. But many Syrian Druze (mainly older ones) still harbor positive attitudes towards the Assads.  The growing and very real threat from Islamic terrorist groups has managed to unite some of the Syrian Druze in agreeing to work with their fellow Druze in Israel and cooperate with the Israelis.

In Egypt nearly 300 Islamic terrorists have been killed in Sinai so far this month, as well as about 70 soldiers and police. This degree of violence was triggered by a series of attacks on checkpoints in Sinai on the 1st. ISIL took credit and Egypt has been retaliating ever since. Egypt said this was an attempt by ISIL to take control of Sinai and that this never came close to success. Egypt also revealed that some of the ISIL men in Sinai had recently come from Libya, where the situation for ISIL is grim. The initial ISIL attacks in Sinai left nearly a hundred Islamic terrorists, soldiers and police dead.

Since the Egyptian army overthrew the Moslem Brotherhood government in mid-2013 the resulting violence has left over 2,000 dead. About half the dead have been Islamic terrorists or radicals while 27 percent have been security forces and the rest civilians. Most of this violence is the result of several Islamic terrorists groups establishing themselves in northern Sinai, near Gaza. Although Hamas denies it, Egypt believes much of the Islamic terrorism is the result of Islamic terrorists using Gaza as a secure base area. While Egypt has tried to shut down all the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, enough of them continue operating to support the needs of Islamic terrorists.

July 5, 2015: The Iran backed Islamic Jihad Islamic terror group completed an eight meter (25 foot) tall tower in Gaza. The tower is 500 meters from the border. Islamic Jihad is a Hamas rival in Gaza and makes no secret of it. Islamic Jihad has long threatened to start an armed rebellion against Hamas because of perceived treason by Hamas against Islam. Islamic Jihad takes credit for many of the rocket attacks from Gaza that break ceasefire agreements negotiated between Hamas and Israel. This aggression got Islamic Jihad criticized by the UN, which is usually condemning Israel for defending itself. Before the 2014 50 Day War the consensus was that Islamic Jihad was 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 later on. That is what the 50 Day War did.

July 4, 2015: In Egypt (Sinai) a series of overnight air raids killed nearly forty Islamic terrorists. In Gaza Hamas officials again denied that it allows anti-Egyptian Islamic terrorists (especially ISIL) to use Gaza as a base. Egyptian police have identified some known Palestinians (and Gaza residents) among the Islamic terrorists killed in Sinai in the last few days and believe Hamas is lying about sheltering ISIL.

Today Egyptian troops found another smuggling tunnel from Gaza. This one was 1,500 meters long and smugglers inside it fled back to Gaza after police entered from the Egyptian side. Among the items the smugglers dropped when they fled was over 50 kg (110 pounds) of explosives headed for customers in Egypt. One thing Israel and Egypt agree on is that Hamas allows Gaza to be used as a base for Islamic terrorists. There is also a belief that Hamas has worked out a “truce” deal with ISIL to keep the peace among various Islamic terror groups in Gaza who each believe they should be running the place. This truce is to avoid Islamic terrorists killing each other rather than Israelis or Egyptians (at least the ones that oppose them.)

The weekly anti-government protests in Egypt were more violent today, because it is the second anniversary of the army ouster of the Moslem Brotherhood government. At least two protestors were killed.

July 3, 2015: Two rockets fired from Sinai landed in Israel, causing no damage. ISIL later took credit for firing three rockets, but one of them may have been faulty and landed in Egypt or somewhere in southern Israel where they were not even noticed. About one rocket a week is being fired from Gaza, most of them without anyone taking credit. Israel considers Hamas ultimately responsible for any rockets fired from Gaza.

Hamas admitted that ISIL was operating in Gaza and accused Israel of supporting ISIL in an effort to destroy Hamas. The belief that ISIL (and many other Islamic terror groups) were created by America and/or Israel and are controlled by their creators is common throughout the Moslem world. In Syria there is a similar belief that Israel is secretly allied with al Nusra as well and cleverly manipulates all these Islamic terror groups to kill Moslems and discredit Islam.  The belief in these fantasies and frequent aversion to taking responsibility has long crippled the Arab world. This not something new but an ancient and persistent problem that resists efforts to correct it. In Gaza the reality is that Hamas is losing control and that ISIL has openly said it is trying to replace Hamas as the ruler of Gaza. Hamas is not able to eliminate all the competing Islamic radical groups in Gaza and that situation has become a lot worse with the growth of ISIL.

July 2, 2015: In the West Bank Palestinian police arrested over a hundred Hamas supporters and changed them with planning attacks on Palestinian Authority (Fatah) targets. Hamas accused Fatah of making the arrests at the request of the Israelis, in order to reduce the attacks on Israelis in the West Bank and inside Israel. Later in the day a Palestinian teenager was shot dead as he and others were attacking an Israeli checkpoint with rocks and other projectiles.

July 1, 2015: In Egypt (Sinai) some 300 ISIL gunmen and suicide bombers attacked ten checkpoints in northern Sinai, killing over fifty soldiers and police while suffering even heavier losses themselves. At the same time ISIL released a video calling on Gaza residents to rise up against Hamas rule and help ISIL replace Hamas. There is little enthusiasm for that among Gaza residents, who find Hamas rule harsh enough and know that ISIL is even worse.

June 30, 2015: In Egypt (outside Cairo) a car bomb killed three people.    

June 29, 2015: In the West Bank (Ramallah) Palestinians fired on and wounded four Israelis.

June 28, 2015: On the West Bank border Israeli police arrested a Palestinian woman trying to enter Israel carrying a concealed shotgun. The woman was later found to be working for Hamas, although Hamas denied any connection.

In Egypt (Cairo) a car bomb killed the senior prosecutor, who was in charge of prosecuting Moslem Brotherhood president who was overthrown by a coup in 2013.

June 27, 2015: In the West Bank (Beit El) an Israeli ambulance was fired on but no one was hurt.

In Egypt (Sinai) raids on Islamic terrorist locations left eleven Islamic terrorists dead and four arrested. Similar raids in the last week have killed 22 and arrested 30 suspects.

June 23, 2015: A rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel. There were no casualties or property damage. Israel fired back at the launching site. No one took credit for this rocket.

June 20, 2015: In Jerusalem a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a policeman in an Arab neighborhood.

June 19, 2015: In the West Bank (Dolev) a Palestinian fired on two Israelis, killing one of them and then fled.

June 17, 2015: A recent opinion poll in Turkey about which countries were most of a threat to Turkey revealed that 42.6 percent of Turks saw Israel as the biggest threat followed by America (35.5 percent) and Syria (22.1 percent). When it comes to Islamic terrorism 85 percent regarded ISIL as a terrorist organization but only 65.4 percent believed ISIL was a threat to Turkey while 24 percent believed ISIL was not a threat to Turkey. To Westerners this may seem odd but for over a decade Turks have been exposed to more and more government sponsored anti-U.S., anti-Israel and pro-Islam propaganda. This was part of a deliberate effort to return Turkey to its virtuous Islamic roots and undo nearly a century of efforts to “westernize Turkey”. As a result Turkey has become a growing problem when it comes to dealing with Islamic terrorists. Despite groups like al Qaeda and ISIL considering Turkey an enemy, the Islamic party that has run the Turk government since 2003 has become increasingly paranoid about religion and anyone not Moslem. The Turkish president has been openly accusing the non-Moslem world of making war on Islam. This is the same attitude Islamic terrorists use to justify their attacks on non-Moslem targets. Yet Turkey has remained a member of NATO and taken strong measures to shut down Islamic terrorist groups inside Turkey. 

 

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