Despite Hezbollah assurances a week ago, that it would stop other terrorist groups in Gaza from firing rockets and mortars into Israel, there has been at least two attacks. Israel, as agreed, did not bomb Hamas facilities in retaliation. Hamas is being given a few weeks to prove that it can shut down the other terror groups. So far this month, about 35 rockets and mortar shells have been fired into Israel from Gaza. Israel has indicated that it would invade again, as it did two years ago, if the attacks did not stop, or at least become much less frequent. What really got the attention of Hamas was Egypt, and other Arab states, warning that Israel was really preparing for another Gaza invasion, one that might be meant to destroy Hamas no matter what.
Israel has completed the training of fifty Russian UAV operators. Israel has also delivered over a dozen UAVs to Russia, and has formed a joint venture with Russian firms to produce Israeli UAVs in Russia. In return, Russia will sell fewer weapons to Syria and Iran. Russia is way behind in UAV development, and efforts in the last two decades to catch up have all failed.
More evidence has appeared, indicating that the Stuxnet computer worm, which damaged Iran's nuclear weapons development efforts, was a joint U.S.-Israeli effort. Actual details are classified, and there's no official information anywhere, from anyone, about the origins of Stuxnet. All that is known, from software engineers who have gone over the Stuxnet code, is that it's an impressive piece of work, and designed to damage the kind of uranium refining equipment Iran is using to create nuclear fuel for its atomic bombs. Iran admits that it got hit by Stuxnet, and that its nuclear fuel program has been delayed by "unforeseen technical problems."
January 18, 2011: On the Gaza border, Palestinian terrorists managed to plant two bombs along the road on the other side of the fence. One detonated, but caused no damage or injury to a nearby Israeli patrol. The second bomb was found and disabled by the Israelis. In response, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered Gaza, killing one Palestinian and destroying structures believed used by the bomb planters. Terrorists in Gaza fired four mortar shells into Israel. A Gaza based group, the Popular Resistance Committee, later claimed responsibility.
Meanwhile, Gaza does all right economically, despite over 30 percent unemployment. That's because the Palestinian Authority (PA), headquartered in the West Bank and controlled by Fatah, sends over a billion dollars a year to Gaza to pay retirees and 70,000 PA employees who have been replaced by Hamas, but remain loyal to Fatah. Over a billion dollars a year comes into Gaza from Palestinians working elsewhere (in other Arab countries or the West). Foreign aid organizations supply many basic necessities, all of this paid for largely by Western donors. Hamas only gets about 20 percent of its half billion dollar a year budget from Iran, the rest is raised by taxing lots of stuff, and thus paying for a paramilitary force of 7,000 gunmen. Those businessmen and clan leaders who cooperate with Hamas are allowed to start or run businesses, or otherwise get in on the Hamas controlled economic activity, and make a lot of money in the process.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops arrested 18 Palestinians wanted on terrorism charges.
January 17, 2011: Someone in Gaza fired a rocket into Israel, despite the increased Hamas security along the security fence and in areas from which rockets are usually fired.
January 13, 2011: Hamas called in leaders from other terrorist organizations based in Gaza, and told them to temporarily halt rocket and mortar attacks into Israel. Hamas later sent gunmen into northern Gaza, to patrol the areas where these rocket and mortar attacks are usually launched.
January 12, 2011: In Lebanon, Hezbollah caused the coalition to collapse, but withdrawing its twelve ministers. Hezbollah had demanded that the government, led by Saad Hariri, withdraw Lebanese support for a UN investigation into killed Saad Hariri's father Rafiq (a revered political leader). Syria and Hezbollah are believed to be responsible, and the UN investigators are believed to have proof. Hezbollah is believed responsible for several assassinations of politicians it did not agree with. Most Lebanese do not want to fight another civil war over this, but Hezbollah keeps expanding its power, and, many fear that Hezbollah ultimately seeks to rule the entire country. Most Lebanese wish the Hezbollah would just calm down, but Iran finances Hezbollah, and exercises a lot of control over the organization. Thus Hezbollah is dedicated to war with Israel and domination of Lebanon. Saad Hariri is also believed too pro-West (and U.S.) for Iranian tastes.
Israeli aircraft and artillery hit targets in Gaza, in retaliation for mortar and rocket attacks into Israel.
January 11, 2011: Hamas called on other terrorist groups in Gaza to halt rocket and missile attacks on Israel, because Israel was planning another invasion that would destroy everyone's preparations for the future major attack on Israel. At the same time, Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas and other terrorist group targets in Gaza, in response to continued rocket attacks on Israel. The rogue terrorist organization were not all willing to publicly renounce attacks on Israel.