November 27, 2009: Peace talks between Palestinians and Israel continue to go nowhere. The basic problem is that, for the last two generations, it has been Palestinian policy to teach their children that Israel has no right to exist. Thus most Palestinians (unless they were educated outside of the Middle East) take it for granted that any peace deal with Israel is just a tactical move in the effort to eventually destroy Israel and drive all Jews from the Middle East. People outside the Middle East have a hard time comprehending this attitude. But it is very real, and can be seen on Palestinian web sites (not so much on the non-Arabic language ones, although even there the anti-Semitic line is leaking through more and more). Israel goes through the motions of negotiating, to keep its Western allies and trading partners happy, but few Jews in Israel see any chance of real peace with the Palestinians, given the current attitudes within the Palestinian community.
Negotiations to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity continue to be stalled. Hamas wants hard core terrorists with, as Israel calls it, "blood on their hands" freed in exchange for Shalit. Some factions in Hamas want even more, like free passage of goods and people into and out of Gaza. Neither Israel nor Egypt will tolerate that, not with the number of Islamic terrorists now hiding out in Gaza.
November 26, 2009: On the Egyptian border, near the Red Sea resort city of Eliat, Israeli border police fired on someone trying to sneak into Israel. The suspect fled, but left behind a satchel containing 33 pounds (15kg) of explosives. This was apparently another attempt at a terrorist bombing tourist areas.
November 25, 2009: In Hebron, a Palestinian man used a knife and ax to attacked an Israeli couple. A passing soldier saw the this and shot the attacker, preventing the victims from being killed. In Lebanon, the government, under Hezbollah pressure, legalized Hezbollah use of terrorist violence against Israel. Most Lebanese oppose this, as it makes them vulnerable to attack the next time Hezbollah engages in large scale violence against Israel, or tries to kidnap Israelis. Hezbollah is trying to get the Lebanese government more involved in aggression against Israel. They are having some success. Recently, Lebanese army anti-aircraft guns fired on an Israeli UAV. If Lebanese anti-aircraft guns made it difficult for Israeli UAVs to monitor Hezbollah activities near the Israeli border, this would probably prompt Israeli aircraft to bomb the Lebanese anti-aircraft units. Both Israel and Hezbollah acknowledge that it's not a matter of if, but when, Hezbollah will launch another major rocket attack in Israel, and these UAV patrols are seen as necessary to limiting Israeli casualties when that attack occurs.
November 21, 2009: Israeli warplanes attacked terrorist targets in Gaza, hours after more rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza.
November 20, 2009: In the Sinai desert, Egyptian police and Bedouins clashed (leaving one Bedouin dead) over recent arrests of Bedouin smugglers. Egypt has been cracking down on the smuggling because the Bedouins will work for terrorists, as well as the usual drug gangs.
November 19, 2009: Israeli police caught three Arab Israeli men trying to smuggle 33 pounds of heroin across the Lebanese border. The risk of terrorists getting across the Lebanese border has resulted in tight security up there. But the profits from hard drugs are so high, that smugglers still try. It's easier to get the Afghan heroin into Lebanon (because the police are less effective) than via Jordan or Egypt. Syria, and its ally Hezbollah, have been involved in drug production and smuggling for decades. But the Afghan heroin is cheaper. Lebanon has eliminated much of the Syrian supported heroin production in Hezbollah controlled territory, mainly because of the growing number of heroin addicts in Lebanon.
November 17, 2009: Israel came in 32nd in the latest international (180 countries) survey of least corrupt nations. Israel came in ahead of its neighbors (Egypt at 111, Jordan at 49, Syria at 126 and Lebanon at 130.) Two Arab states came in ahead of Israel (Qatar at 22 and United Arab Emirates at 30). These are two of the few Arab states that are trying to establish economic and diplomatic relations with Israel.