Israel: Friends And Neighbors

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January 12, 2022: Israel declared that it would attack Iranian nuclear weapons facilities alone if the U.S. and key European countries agreed to lift the economic sanctions on Iran in return of Iranian assurances that it will halt its nuclear weapons program. Israel does not believe Iran will abide by these terms, just as it has never halted work on nukes in the past. Iran work has slowed down in the past, largely because of economic sanctions. When Iran has more money, some of it goes to nukes and most of it goes to overseas military operations in places like Syria, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen. Most nations feel no immediate threat from Iranian nuclear weapons, especially early models, which will be crude and less effective. Iran believes nukes will make neighbors more likely to agree to Iranian demands. The one country that is always mentioned as the first target for Iranian nukes is Israel. The Islamic radicals are still running Iran and they still openly proclaim their desire to nuke Israel. No other nation has been threatened with nuclear attack and Israel considers lifting economic sanctions on Iran as an opportunity for Iran to finally build a nuclear weapon and use it against the Little Satan (Israel). The Great Satan is the United States, which is too far away and too powerful to be the first foe to feel the nuclear wrath of Iran.

Good News

Israel is gaining more Arab allies against Iran. A growing number of Moslem states are establishing diplomatic and trade relations with Israel. After more than a century of increasing anti-Semitism, most of Israel’s Arab neighbors realized that Israel would be a valuable economic, diplomatic and military ally against common enemies like Shia Iran and Islamic terrorism in general. Israel is also the only nation in the region with nukes and reliable ballistic missiles, which are also used to put Israeli spy satellites into orbit. These missiles can also reach any target in Iran, using nuclear or non-nuclear warheads.

It is also the worst of times because Iran has personnel operating on Israeli borders and an increasingly effective Cyber War effort against Israel. There is growing dissatisfaction in the West and the Middle East with the Palestinian leadership failures and rampant corruption. Palestinians are convinced that Israel has no right to exist and pretending to negotiate a peace deal is useful for obtaining foreign aid and not much else. Arabs in general are now telling the Palestinians to take whatever peace deal they can get because cash and other aid from Arab nations will continue to disappear unless the Palestinians solve their own problems with corruption and fixation on destroying Israel. Many Palestinians are willing to change but their corrupt leaders are not and use their war on Israel as an excuse to violently suppress any Palestinian opposition to the current suicidal strategy.

There are similar attitudes in Iran where young (born after the 1980s) Iranians are now the majority and want an end to corruption, theocracy and expensive foreign misadventures. The decade-long operation in Syria was seen as particularly wasteful and expensive, especially with Israel threatening to use whatever it takes, including their nukes, to prevent Iran from creating a military presence on their northern border. These young Iranians also know that until the 1980s Israel and Iran were allies and trading partners.

January 9, 2022: Israel has agreed to issue work permits for up to 10,000 Gazans. When Gazans took part in a terrorist campaign against Israel in 2000 the number of work permits was reduced became some of the permit holders agreed to join terror groups and try to kill Israelis inside Israel. Hamas was already in Gaza and took control of Gaza in 2007 by promising less corruption and more attacks on Israel. Eventually only a handful of entry permits were provided to Gazans.

Hamas no longer wants to use a work permit system to organize terror attacks inside Israel because the unemployment rate in Gaza reached 50 percent in 2021 and many Hamas leaders realized that most unemployed Gazans blame Hamas for the lack of Israeli work permits. In response Israel agreed to take a chance and again issue more work permits. Since 2000 Israel has brought in West Bank and foreign workers to replace the Gazans. The foreigners were non-Moslems from distant countries and the West Bank workers knew that they could be replaced by the more expensive workers, who we also more difficult to work with because few understood Arabic or Hebrew, although many understood English. The foreign workers are in Israel for specified terms and as those contracts end and are not renewed more jobs can be offered to Gazans. The Gaza and West Bank economies have stagnated and more Palestinians have become dependent on foreign aid just survive, all because of the Hamas and Fatah policy that Israel must be destroyed. Within six years Israel had defeated the terror campaigns and kept subsequent terrorist efforts out of Israel, where the economy grew faster than any other in the region. Israel needs workers, Gazans wanted jobs and Hamas did not want a revolt led by the unemployed.

January 8, 2022: In the north, the national electrical grid in neighboring Lebanon was out of service for several hours. The cause was protestors against continued scheduled blackouts, getting into a key facility of the national network and damaging equipment. The scheduled blackouts are due to fuel shortages and a government deadlocked by corruption and politics, especially the presence of Iran-backed Hezbollah.

January 7, 2022: In the north (Golan Heights) Israeli tanks fired on armed men seen approaching an Israeli outpost on the border. The tanks were not shooting to kill, unless the men kept coming. In this case the intruders retreated.

January 5, 2022: In the West Bank, Israeli troops were attacked by gunfire while seeking to make an arrest. The Israelis returned fired, killing one of the gunmen. No Israelis were injured and the suspect they were seeking got away.

January 4, 2022: In the north (Lebanon border) Israeli forces brought down a small quadcopter UAV crossing the border into Israel. The stored video component was intact and it showed pictures of the two Hezbollah men who were preparing it for what became its last mission. Israel has developed and put to work several effective small UAV detection systems and various ways to bring down UAVs detected inside Lebanon (or Syria and Gaza) as they try to enter Israel. Some of these detection system include the capability to identify the type and model of UAV and bring it down intact by disrupting its navigation system. There are also lasers and computer enhanced sniper scopes that are effective.

January 3, 2022: In Egypt (Sinai) a Tribal Union has provided armed and unarmed men to assist the army in finding and arresting Islamic terrorists, especially ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) men who are still attempting to use roadside bombs against the military, and any civilians who are nearby. The tribes have been staunchly anti-terrorist since several mass killing by ISIL groups seeking to terrify the tribes into cooperating with them. Israel advised Egypt to make the most of this to improve relations with the tribes, who are normally hostile, or at best neutral towards the government. Israel has some tribes on its side of the border to prove their approach worked and Egypt tried that it the Israeli way. It worked, especially when tribesmen escort the troops and provide the most useful information on Islamic terrorist hideouts. The army and police handle the arrests, including any armed resistance by the Islamic terrorists. The government can now hire more tribesmen for local government jobs rather than bringing in people from “across the canal” where the majority of Egyptians live. In Israel members of the Bedouin tribes are allowed to volunteer for military service and many of these men make the military a career and some become officers. Israel has far fewer problems with Islamic terrorists on their side of the border. The new tribal policy makes it easier for Egypt to deal with Hamas, which is now more cooperative with Egypt because the tribes see Hamas and Gaza as a sanctuary for Iran-backed Islamic terror groups.

January 2, 2022: In the south (Gaza) an Israeli helicopter was fired on by two shoulder fired heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles that failed to hit their target either because the missiles were too old or because of the counter-measures installed on Israeli helicopters. Hamas obtained these missiles over a decade ago. This came after Israeli aircraft were equipped with effective defenses against these missiles. The Israeli helicopter was part of an airstrike force to destroy Hamas military targets in retaliation for two rockets fired into Israel yesterday. Both rockets detonated off the coast and Hamas said it was a rocket test gone wrong and that the rockets were hit by lightning. Israel told Hamas that any rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are the fault of Hamas, which claims to control Gaza. The reality is that there are still smaller Islamic terror groups in Gaza that do not always cooperate with Hamas and one of these dissident groups was blamed for the missiles fired at the Israeli helicopter. Israel later bombed another Hamas military facility in response of the attack on the helicopter.

December 31, 2021: In the West Bank a Palestinian man with a knife was shot dead as he ran towards Israeli civilians and soldiers waiting at a bus stop. Fatah, which runs the West Bank, and Hamas in Gaza use foreign aid for encouraging terrorism. Monthly payments go to imprisoned terrorists or the families of dead ones. Hamas and Fatah spend over $200 million a year on this and payments on this scale would not be possible without using foreign aid funds. Embarrassed by published details of how this works, many donor countries have cut their aid in a show of opposition to this “Pay For Slay” policy. In the United States Palestinian charities are being sued for illegally soliciting money for needy Palestinians and using a lot of the contributions for supporting terrorism (either for Pay for Slay or to finance current and future attacks.) The “Pay for Slay” program is very popular among Palestinians because it makes the losses, they suffer for carrying out these attacks easier to tolerate.

December 28, 2021: In coastal Syria an Israeli airstrike hit a target very close to Russian forces. The target was a storage area in the port of Latakia. Israeli airstrikes in this area used to be rare because Russia uses the port for bringing in cargo. This is the second Israeli airstrike here in December and Israel said that it would attack Iranian weapons shipments wherever they were found. Two Syrian soldiers were killed and there was a fire and secondary explosions in a cargo container storage area. It was later revealed that Israel had alerted Russia shortly before the attack to confirm that no Russian in the target area. Russian air defenses did not act against the Israeli strike, which annoyed the Syrians and Iranians for different reasons. Iran was angry because the target was ballistic missiles for Hezbollah. Syria was annoyed because Syrian port storage facilities were damaged. Russia reminded the Syrians that the Israelis were going after any Iranian target seen as a threat to Israel. This was the 27th Israeli airstrike against targets in Syria in the last year.

These attacks are another example of how Israeli, Russian and American airstrikes in Syria appear to be coordinated. The Americans are even more secretive about their airstrikes in Syria than Israel but each month there are three or four airstrikes by unidentified aircraft or UAVs in eastern Syria (Deir Ezzor province) against Iranian weapons storage sites outside Al Bukamal City, which is on the Euphrates River and as well as the Bukamal border crossing into Iraq. Israel and the U.S. use the same type of aircraft (F-15s) for these attacks and the attacks involving UAVs are not Israeli because the Israelis don’t use armed UAVs, which is an American specialty. In the rest of Syria similar strikes on Iranian targets are Israeli. The U.S. and Israel have a strong military, economic, and diplomatic relationship and often quietly cooperate in areas of mutual interest. The Russians are apparently part of the airstrike coordination in Deir Ezzor province where most of the airstrikes against ISIL targets are Russian, but some are not and are often claimed by the United States.

December 25, 2021: The Knesset (Israeli parliament) approved an additional $2.4 billion for the 2022 defense budget, increasing 2022 defense spending to $22 billion. The additional spending was for classified projects. These are believed related to preparations for an attack on Iranian nuclear weapons sites This threat, and a general upgrade of the IDF (Israel Defense Force) has kept the annual defense budget over $20 billion since 2017. Because the Israeli economy continued to grow during the covis19 years, the military spending as a percentage of GDP also kept falling towards five percent. In contrast, United States defense spending was 3.7 percent of GDP in 2021 while Britain was 2.2 percent, France 2.1 percent, Russia 4.3 percent, Saudi Arabia 8.4 percent, Israel 5.6 percent, India 2.9 percent, South Korea 2.8 percent, Australia 2.1 percent and China somewhere between two and three percent. Global defense spending is about two trillion dollars and 2.4 percent of global GDP.

Covid19 and sanctions have Iran losing ground in its efforts to keep up with increased defense spending everywhere else. Some major spenders spent less in 2020, including Saudi Arabia (-10 percent), Turkey (-5), Iran (-3) and Pakistan (-2.8). These declines were caused by severe economic problems. Saudi Arabia has to devote more money to maintaining living standards since world oil prices fell sharply after 2013 and have not recovered to 2013 levels. Saudi Arabia is still the biggest spender in the region, spending $57.5 billion. Turkey spent $17.7 billion, Iran $15.8 billion and Pakistan $10.4 billion. Global defense spending in 2020 increased 2.6 percent, to $1.96 trillion. This occurred despite the covid19 global recession. Israel handled covid19 much more effectively than Iran, meaning the GDP grew more slowly but still grew, in contrast to many other countries in the region.

December 16, 2021: In the West Bank, a car carrying Israeli religious students was fired on by unknown gunmen. One Israeli was killed and two wounded.

 

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