Israel: Lies, Mistrust And Hatred

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July 10, 2008: Israel is having increasing problems with its Arab citizens (about a fifth of the population) and residents (several hundred Palestinians can live in Jerusalem, but are not Israeli citizens.) One of these residents, a construction worker, recently went on a rampage with a bulldozer on a crowded Jerusalem street, killing three Jews and injuring over a dozen. Three terrorist groups took credit for the attack, but further investigation showed that the attacker was not political, and just went berserk for various personal reasons. But there are real problems with Arabs who join terrorist organizations. Two Bedouin from the Negev desert (where most of Israel's 170,000 Bedouin live) admitted to working for al Qaeda, collecting information on potential targets in Israel. Decades of anti-Israeli propaganda in Arab media, and the growth in Arab media available via the Internet and satellite broadcasting, has exposed Israeli Arabs to a lot more "kill-the-Jews" programming in the past decade. This is having an effect, and Israeli counter-terrorism officials are not sure how far it will go, or exactly what to do about it.

The truce with Hamas is not working. At least a dozen rockets and mortar shells have been fired into Israel since June 19th (when the ceasefire began). Hamas says these attacks are carried out by radical Palestinians they do not control. Israel responds by not opening the vehicle crossing all the time. Hamas also protests the continued attacks on Hamas operatives in the West Bank (which was not forbidden by the ceasefire agreement). So Hamas has stopped negotiating to free an Israeli soldier they grabbed two years ago.

The Israelis also have their hard liners, who are also difficult to control. About a sixth of the Israeli population are very religious Jews. Then there are several hundred thousand Jewish settlers living in the West Bank (many of whom believe Arabs should be expelled from the area, which they consider part of "Greater Israel.") The Jewish settlers are a constant source of conflict, and the religious Jews often get violent at the perceived "insults" by non-religious Jews or Moslems.  Lots of angry people in this part of the world.

Israel is working with Fatah to crush Hamas in the West Bank. This involves closing Hamas organizations, and arresting or killing Hamas terrorists (especially leaders and technicians). Hamas is responding by attempting to kill Fatah operatives, and trying to obtain help from European nations, but portraying Hamas has a victim.

Iran has launched a major propaganda campaign, featuring missile tests and threats of missile attacks on Israel, should Israel bomb Iran's nuclear weapons program. Israeli experts doubt that Iran really has a missile that can reach Israel, and, in any event, Israel has a functioning anti-missile system. Moreover, Syria, an ally of Iran, is no longer so sure it wants to join in on any counterattack against Israel. Syria is a neighbor of Israel, and apparently Israeli diplomats have made some scary and convincing threats about what might happen to Syria in any future war.

In Lebanon, Hizbollah continues to extend its control. But this has led to more fighting in the north (until recently an area with little Hizbollah presence). A two week ceasefire in Tripoli ended with violence and over 60 casualties (including five dead.) The army has been trying to keep the Hizbollah and anti-Hizbollah (Sunni Moslem and Christian) factions apart. Meanwhile, Israel is trying to get the UN to enforce the resolution that ended the war in 2006. For the last year, the UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon have been looking the other way as Hizbollah brought thousands of rockets into the area and stored them in newly built bunkers. Israel is threatening to destroy these rockets with a ground offensive, and take on any UN peacekeepers who get in the way, if the UN does not enforce their own resolution. Hizbollah has so far intimidated the peacekeepers, threatening them with terrorist attacks of there is any interference with Hizbollah preparations for another attacks on Israel.

July 5, 2008: Egyptian police found and destroyed three smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border. Several weapons caches were also found in Sinai, near Gaza. Egypt believes that Hamas is harboring anti-Egyptian Islamic terrorists, who use the tunnels to move in and out of Gaza. Hamas demands that Egypt allow free passage from Gaza to Egypt, but the Egyptians refuse, because they do not trust Hamas.

 

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