February 27, 2012: Islamic radicals and Palestinian nationalists in Gaza have a plan, which involves starting a war between Egypt and Israel. The idea is to increase Gaza-based rocket and mortar attacks on Israel and goad Israel to invade Gaza again. This would enrage the new democratic government of Egypt. The Palestinians believe that all the factions in the new Egyptian parliament will try to outdo each other in calling for an armed response to Israeli army operations in Gaza (to reduce the Palestinian attacks on Israel). If Egypt went to war with Israel the Palestinians would benefit. Obviously, these folks have ignored the lessons of history. If the Egyptian army goes after Israel the Egyptians will be defeated. Gaza, caught in the middle, will be seriously damaged. But all that would be declared another Palestinian victory and that's what really counts.
The ceasefire with Islamic terror groups in Gaza is not working out too well. In the last two months over fifty rockets and mortar shells have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Increasing the attacks is difficult, as Israel has put more UAVs and other surveillance on northern Gaza (where the rockets are fired from) and this is causing more casualties among the rocket launching crews.
Peace talks with the Palestinians continue to go nowhere. Palestinian Arab language media still concentrates on the need to use terrorism to destroy Israel. Worse, the divisions within the Palestinian community continue to disrupt efforts to deal with corruption and poor management of Palestinian finances and diplomacy. Increasingly, other Arab nations criticize the Palestinians openly over this. But little changes. Hamas was supposed to be the vanguard of effective reform but instead they got bogged down in Islamic political correctness (lifestyle rules and strict religious orthodoxy) and battles with other Islamic radical sects accusing Hamas of not being militant enough. Fatah is as corrupt as ever and the people they rule in the West Bank despair of that ever changing.
Meanwhile, Israel has its own problems with Jewish extremists. Religious conservatives (about ten percent of the population) increasingly demand that less-religious Jews adjust their lifestyle to conform to religious law. Jewish nationalists push to making bits of the West Bank part of Israel. These Jewish extremists are becoming increasingly violent but not nearly as deadly as Islamic terrorists. Not yet, anyway.
The 20,000 Druze (a heretical Islamic sect) living in the Golan Heights (captured from Syria in 1967) have, for the first time, openly turned against the Syrian government. More and more Druze join demonstrations against the Syrian government (which has long treated the Druze well, as long as they supported the minority Alawite dictatorship that ruled the country). The increasing violence against demonstrators in Syria has turned normally pro-Syria Druze and Hamas against the Assad dictatorship. Israel will probably gain from a new Sunni government in Syria. There will still be border disputes but the Iran connection will be gone.
Israel has discovered another large offshore gas field but it's even closer to the maritime border with Lebanon. With all that gas so close Lebanon is complaining to the UN that the maritime border should be changed, so Lebanon can own the gas fields. Israel has increased its reconnaissance efforts over Lebanon, sending in UAVs and manned recon aircraft. Turkey says it will back Lebanon but so far there's only talk.
Rumors that Jewish hardliners were planning to enter the al-Aqsa mosque (on the Temple Mount, the site of the last Jewish temple in Jerusalem) caused several violent demonstrations near the mosque in the past week. Young Israeli Arab men and teenagers are also more frequently gathering near roads, in Arab neighborhoods, and throwing rocks at cars believed to contain Jews. This is leading to a growing number of arrests. There are also some attacks with firebombs.
February 26, 2012: More rockets from Gaza landed in Israel.
February 25, 2012: Israeli aircraft hit targets in Gaza in retaliation for a recent rocket attack on Israel.
More rockets from Gaza landed in Israel.
February 24, 2012: In the West Bank, Palestinian terrorists threw five fire bombs at Israeli troops. There were no injuries.
February 23, 2012: More rockets from Gaza landed in Israel.
February 22, 2012: Israeli police raided a location in the West Bank and arrested three terrorism suspects.
February 21, 2012: Egypt announced a new deal to supply fuel for the power plant in Gaza. This is a direct attack on Hamas, which cut off fuel supplies from Israel last year and relied instead on fuel smuggled in (via tunnels) from Egypt. This Hamas heavily taxed and that became a major source of income. But then Egypt cut the smuggled supply on the 14th and that led to blackouts. Hamas refused to accept fuel from Israel. But the popular discontent was so strong that Hamas could not block the Egyptian offer of free fuel. Hamas has been losing popularity in Gaza for several years now. This has forced Hamas to back away from imposing strict Islamic lifestyle rules. Hamas also started to condemn the government violence in Syria. This angered Iran, which has long been a major supporter of Hamas. Egypt is seen as pro-Fatah, despite insistence that Egypt will treat all Palestinian factions the same.
Iran threatened to attack Israel first if it appeared that Israel was going to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The Iranian government wants the Israelis to attack as this will unite the Iranian people behind an increasingly unpopular religious dictatorship.
Mortar shells from Gaza landed in Israel.
February 20, 2012: An Israeli anti-smuggling patrol along the Egyptian border ran into a man carrying a terrorist bomb. The man escaped and the bomb was defused.
More rockets from Gaza landed in Israel.
February 19, 2012: Israeli aircraft hit targets in Gaza in retaliation for a recent rocket attack on Israel.
February 18, 2012: An Iranian destroyer, accompanied by a supply ship, entered the Mediterranean and steamed past Israel on its way to the Syrian port of Tartus. After a few days the Iranian ships headed back and entered the Suez Canal on the 21st.
February 15, 2012: More rockets from Gaza landed in Israel. Israeli warplanes retaliated.
February 14, 2012:
In Bangkok, Thailand three Iranians fled a house after bombs they were building exploded. One man came out of the house with two of the bombs and tried to attack a taxi (for refusing to take him and his bombs downtown) but the bomb went off after it bounced off the cab, blowing off his legs. Three Iranian men were arrested, one after flying to Malaysia. A fourth man successfully fled to Iran as did the fifth member of the group, an Iranian woman. It took about a week for the police to discover that there were five suspects and that they were all Iranian.
February 13, 2012: In Georgia and India attackers used magnetic bombs to try and kill Israeli diplomats. The attacks failed. Iran accuses Israel of using such tactics in several successful attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists. Iran and Hezbollah denied any participation in these attacks.
February 11, 2012: Egyptian police found and seized several tons of explosives and several shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles in the Sinai desert. Local smugglers were apparently preparing the get these weapons into Gaza.
Israeli aircraft hit targets in Gaza in retaliation for a recent rocket attack on Israel.