Israel: Secret Friends


December 9, 2009: Negotiations to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity continue to be stalled. Hamas wants fifty hard core terrorists with, as Israel calls it, "blood on their hands" freed in exchange for Shalit. Israel refuses to let these killers go, (although a thousand less dangerous prisoners are offered) because it is believed these experienced terrorists would return to working on ways to kill Israelis, and succeeding. This would be political dynamite in Israel, for any officials who signed off on the release of the killers.

The Islamic politicians now running Turkey are trying to overcome objections by their own military, and cut all military cooperation with Israel. The Islamic politicians want to do this to improve their stature in the Islamic world. The military wants to maintain the relationships because it increases Turkish combat power. This is seen as important, given the growing ambitions of neighboring Iran, and the possibility that Iran will soon have nuclear weapons, and more confidence about threatening Turkey. The Turks and Iranians have been rivals, and often at war, for over a thousand years. Despite all this, Israel and Turkey continue to cooperate in some areas. For example, Israel recently thanked Turkey for assistance in preventing Hezbollah from attacking Jews in Turkey. There are several Islamic radical groups operating in Turkey, and their terror attacks (usually against government targets) make the public angry, and nervous about their safety. Israel and Turkey continue to cooperate in tracking Islamic terrorists, and sharing information. Turkish Islamic politicians are willing to continue with this, as long as it is kept quiet. Similar arrangements have long been maintained between Israel and many Islamic nations.

Israel has cracked down on Jewish radicals building illegal settlements and housing in the West Bank. In response, the more extreme of these radical groups threatens to attack nearby Arabs. Many radical Jews believe the Arabs should be driven out of the West Bank, as it is part of "Greater Israel." These radicals are a minority, but they attract the sympathies of a large minority of Israeli voters. So politicians have to pay attention.

December 8, 2009: In a series of night raids, Israeli security forces arrested 14 wanted terrorists in the West Bank. This sort of thing is ongoing, as the Israeli counter-terror campaign of the last six years has identified more Palestinian terrorists than it has captured or killed. Some of these "unaccounted for" men have fled the country (or gone to Gaza), but many have gone into hiding in the West Bank. Israel fears that some of these semi-retired terrorists may decide to become active again. Many of those recently captured indicated as much.

December 6, 2009: For the first time, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired an Iranian S-5K rocket into Israel. The S-5K is a 57mm, 11 pound (about three feet long, or less than a meter), unguided rocket, with a range of four kilometers, which is normally fired in salvos from helicopters or aircraft. It's of Russian origin and generally considered crap.

November 30, 2009: In Gaza, a minibus driving to a mosque suddenly exploded. One of the passengers died and three others were wounded. The four men were known terrorists. The explosion was not from an Israeli missile, and may have been from some kind of explosives carried in the bus. Years of Israeli effort to identify and capture, or kill, Palestinian bomb makers, has resulted in a lot of rank amateurs trying to build explosive devices, and creating unstable ones that go off at inopportune times.

Israeli warplanes bombed smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, and artillery shelled parts of northern Gaza.

In Lebanon, Israeli hackers again got into the Lebanese phone system, and dialed thousands of Lebanese with the offer of a $10 million reward for information on the location of Israelis kidnapped by Hezbollah. The Israeli government refuses to comment on who is behind these telephone system hacks (which have occurred numerous times in the last decade, in Lebanon and Syria.)




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