August 22, 2013:
The Israeli government says nothing officially about what is going on in Egypt. Off-the-record Israeli officials are concerned and willing to work with anyone over there who can restore order and economic activity and prevent a total meltdown. The army coup on the 14
appears to do that but the economy is still stalled and the Moslem Brotherhood promises to strike back. Many Arab Islamic conservatives blame Israel for the mess, which is normal.
Violence in Lebanon, between pro and anti-Iran factions, continues. Hezbollah is the most powerful supporter of Iran in Lebanon and is losing a lot of its popular support for that and for fighting against the largely Sunni rebels in Syria.
In Egypt the deposed Moslem Brotherhood continues to resist the army takeover of the government and deposing of Moslem Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi as president. The Brotherhood followers have a major problem in that most Egyptians now blame them for doing nothing to fix the economy. That public attitude has allowed the military to get away with killing over 700 Brotherhood protestors. Normally this much bloodshed would turn the public against the troops, but most Egyptians no longer trust or believe the Brotherhood and accept army assertions that the troops fired in self-defense. Lacking much popular support, the Brotherhood is split between either going back to political activism or starting a terror campaign against the new government. The Brotherhood leadership appears to have chosen a middle path, combining political activism with street violence. This will get the Brotherhood banned but the hope is that this will turn the Brotherhood into martyrs. That is not likely to work because the business community and police are making a strong effort to get the economy going and restore order. Anyone trying to maintain chaos that disrupts economic activity will be seen as hostile to most of the 90 million Egyptians who cannot really afford to miss too many paychecks.
One thing nearly all Egyptians agree on is that Egypt doesn’t work. There’s the corruption, which helps keep the few hundred wealthiest families in control of the economy and government. The system these families have created makes it very difficult for entrepreneurs (who create the most new jobs and threaten the economic power of the old families) or social change in general. This is not unique but is common throughout the world. It is worse in Egypt and while most Egyptians believed the Moslem Brotherhood promises to clean up the corruption and introduce economic and political freedoms, they were disappointed when this did not happen. Instead Morsi, in an effort to keep his radicals happy, began introducing Islamic law (sharia) and lifestyle restrictions. That provided the popular support the military (which has always been on the payroll of the wealthy families) needed to depose the Moslem Brotherhood government without triggering a popular uprising. Much to the dismay of the Islamic conservatives, this was hailed by most Egyptians, as was the military use of violence to clear the Moslem Brotherhood protestors from the streets. While the military leadership is in the pocket of the wealthy families, most of the troops (many of them conscripts) are not. To survive, the military leadership must constantly stay on the right side of public opinion. Meanwhile, the corrupt police (and their gangster allies, who have formed “pro-military citizen vigilante groups”) are back on the streets looking for anti-government activity. That means Moslem Brotherhood and Islamic radical supporters have to be careful. A wrong word on the street could get you arrested, beaten, or worse.
The Christian minority (Copts, about ten percent of the population who have maintained their Christianity for nearly 2,000 years) have suffered from increased Moslem Brotherhood violence since Morsi was arrested on the 14th. Many Brotherhood members believe the Copts should get out of Egypt or convert to Islam. Since the 14th some fifty churches have been attacked by Brotherhood supporters and hundreds of Christians injured.
In the Sinai 75 soldiers and police have been killed since July. Efforts to deal with the hundreds of Islamic terrorists in Sinai will have to wait until the situation with the Moslem Brotherhood calms down. That might take weeks, or less. Meanwhile, the Egyptian military has the support of most Arab nations, who see the Moslem Brotherhood as Islamic terrorists trying to pretend they aren’t. Meanwhile, Islamic radicals inside Egypt and elsewhere are blaming Israel for the mess in Egypt. The latest manifestation of this are rumors that the head of the Egyptian military Abdel Fattah el Sissi is actually Jewish and a secret supporter of Israel. Many Islamic radicals believe stuff like this, along with the fantasy that the September 11, 2001 attacks were carried out by the CIA and Israel rather than 19 Moslems.
In Gaza Hamas is under popular pressure to crack down on Islamic radical groups and make peace with the new government of Egypt. Hamas can’t do that, as they are Islamic radicals and stand accused by the Egyptians of supporting the Islamic terrorists in Sinai. Not surprisingly, Egypt has revived restrictions on who and what enters or leaves Gaza. In short, not much. Hamas is arresting suspected opposition members despite growing calls from Gaza residents that Hamas shape up.
August 21, 2013: Two Palestinians approached the security fence in Gaza but retreated when they were fired on by Israeli troops. Meanwhile in northern Israel, the polio virus was detected in a sewage treatment plant serving many local Arabs. Israel urged Arab parents to get their children vaccinated against polio, something a growing number of Arabs will not do because of rumors that such vaccinations are actually harmful to Arab children. The polio virus was first detected in February, apparently entering from Egypt. There have been no reported cases in Israel but obviously people with resistance (natural or from vaccination) have picked up the polio virus and are carrying it around. If unvaccinated children get exposed to the polio virus the kids could be paralyzed or die.
August 20, 2013: In Sinai police arrested a Palestinian man from Gaza who was caught carrying explosives, apparently for a bomb to be used by Islamic terrorists in Sinai.
In the West Bank a violent mob tried to prevent soldiers from arresting a wanted Islamic terrorists. One Palestinian was killed and two were wounded, along with two soldiers.
In Egypt the Moslem Brotherhood appointed a new leader (Mahmoud Ezzat) to replace Mohammed Badie, who was arrested earlier in the day.
August 19, 2013: In Sinai 8 Islamic terrorists ambushed two buses and killed 25 policemen going on leave. The terrorists said this attack was revenge for an incident in Cairo the day before where police killed 37 Islamic radical prisoners while trying to free a prison guard who was being held captive by the prisoners.
In Egypt police sought out 260 Moslem Brotherhood members on charges they were conspiring to carry out violent acts.
August 17, 2013: On the Syrian border Israeli troops fired a guided missile at a Syrian mortar that had fired several shells into Israel. Meanwhile, badly wounded Syrians continue coming to the border crossing seeking medical aid. Today a record 14 were admitted and taken to an Israeli hospital. Over 120 Syrians have received medical care so far.
August 16, 2013: A recent opinion poll indicates that 80 percent of Israeli Jews believe peace is not possible with the Palestinians under the current conditions (Palestinian leadership is still backing terrorism and the destruction of Israel). The U.S. and many Western countries insist that despite that a peace deal can be worked out.