The current Arab violence in Israel and the West Bank is encouraged by Arab leaders to distract Palestinians from the more immediate problems of corruption and government incompetence. Palestinians know about these two problems, but would suffer far more (economically and physically) if they protested against their leaders as violently as they do against the Israelis. Palestinian leaders control the many government jobs paid for by aid money and these jobs are a major source of employment. If a Palestinian is identified as an “enemy” he and all his family are going to have a hard time obtaining, or holding onto, one of these jobs. Many Palestinians are well aware of this and find that they can stay away from the violence. But it’s easy to get young (especially teenage males) fired up because these kids have been raised with Arab media that constantly praises violence against non-Moslems (and especially Israelis) as a praiseworthy activity. That includes extensive children’s programming on TV for kids of all ages. This is an absurd situation and Israel is making little headway in persuading its critics in the West that the Palestinians do not want peace. What Palestinian internal propaganda (in Palestinian media and in speeches by officials) has been saying for decades and still says is that the Palestinian objective is the destruction of Israel and the death or expulsion of all Jews from the Middle East. More radical Palestinians (and many other Arabs) not only call for all non-Moslems to be killed or expelled but act on that wherever possible (like Syria, Iraq and Egypt.) Pro-Palestinian Westerners keep making up excuses to explain away this religious bigotry but that is wearing thin as the death toll mounts and the Israelis publicize the Palestinian media exhortations to violence. Even more embarrassing is the attention now given, in Western media, to the double talk from Palestinian and Arab leaders, who talk peace to Western audiences while simultaneously continuing to call for death to non-Moslems in Arabic. It’s ironic that the global mass media, which is a recent (in the last few decades) development was seen by Arab leaders as an excellent way to reach all Moslems, even those who had moved to the West. But that international media is available to anyone, and as more and more Westerners translated the messages (or simply looked at the maps and images, which needed no translator) they noted that what Arab leaders were saying in English (and other Western languages) was quite different from what was said in Arabic. For Arab, and especially Palestinian, leaders this exposure is becoming a problem. A lot of financial and political support comes from Westerners who perceive Palestinians as victims, not genocidal aggressors and religious bigots.
Meanwhile the Palestinian violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem continues, encouraged by Hamas and Fatah controlled media. Fatah would like to have their media back off on the incitement to violence but cannot because Hamas would exploit that by accusing Fatah of being Israeli puppets.
Israel expects more attacks on them by Syrian rebels. There have been at least fifteen incidents since March that involved deliberate mortar or gunfire from Syrian rebels. There were over a hundred incidents of accidental fire from the Syrian side, as rebels and government forces fought. The Israelis don’t expect a major offensive, but small groups of Islamic terrorist rebels are expected to attack just for the sake of being able to say they attacked Israel.
In Lebanon the thousands of Hezbollah casualties suffered in Syria over the last three years has made Hezbollah less popular among Lebanese Shia and Lebanese in general. Hezbollah has to face the fact that when this Syrian rebellion and ISIL
(Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant)
stuff is settled, Hezbollah will be a much weaker organization and a more militarized one. The years of fighting has created a large force of Hezbollah fighters who are now part of a full time Hezbollah “army” and have become professional soldiers. That, and the presence of more Iranian advisors and trainers has led many Lebanese to see Hezbollah as an occupying force consisting of Lebanese “mercenaries” working for Iran. This is fine with Israel and abhorrent to the majority of Lebanese. For Iran it’s a disaster in the making because Iran had always sought to portray Hezbollah as a Shia militia dedicated to the destruction of Israel, not the hired guns for an unpopular Arab dictator next door.
The U.S. Army has purchased an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery from Israel, mainly for evaluation purposes. The Americans want to see if Iron Dome would be worth getting for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, where American troops are still stationed and probably will be for some time to come. The American purchase was the first export sale of Iron Dome. Israeli efforts to export their Iron Dome anti-rocket system have otherwise failed so far, despite years of Iron Dome success in knocking down rockets under realistic combat conditions. The Israeli manufacturer of Iron Dome thought this would make Iron Dome a hot export item. After all, Israel is one of the top ten weapons exporters in the world. This is because Israeli stuff works well and is usually combat tested. But all that has not helped Iron Dome, yet.
In the West Bank Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian home and left messages on the wall warning of more such violence in response to continued Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
Egypt has proclaimed that it will not intervene militarily in Libya. While that is the official position Egypt is apparently providing substantial, and secret, support to the pro-government (and anti-Islamic terrorist) Hiftar faction forces. This comes in the form of air support, weapons and other military supplies and even some Egyptian special operations troops. A major concern of the Egyptians is the movement of weapons and Islamic terrorists into Egypt and there are a lot more Egyptian troops and police on the Libyan border in the past few months. What the Egyptians need is pro-Egypt forces controlling the Libyan side of the frontier. Thus the support for the Hiftar coalition, which arose in Eastern Libya as a coalition of Libyan Army units, tribal militias and anti-Islamic terrorist groups. Hiftar is now officially part of the Tobruk government armed forces.
Meanwhile at home Egypt continues to suffer regular violent demonstrations by pro-Moslem Brotherhood Egyptians. Since mid-2013 this violence has left over 1,400 dead while more than 15,000 have been arrested and several hundred of those were prosecuted and sentenced to death. The terrorist violence in Sinai has been going on since 2011 and has so far left over a thousand dead. Some 70 percent of these have been Islamic terrorists. During this time hundreds of buildings the terrorists were using were destroyed along with over a thousand vehicles and motorcycles (a favorite form of terrorist transportation). The terrorist manpower is primarily local Bedouins angry over decades of corruption and bad government. The Islamic terrorism angle was introduced by Palestinian, Egyptian and foreign Islamic terrorists based in Gaza. Since 2007, when Hamas took over, Gaza became a terrorist sanctuary and many of the terrorists there were seeking to overthrow the Egyptian government, and still are. The Bedouins have been fighting Egyptian from the densely populated Nile River valley for thousands of years. In the last year the security forces have carried out raids or clashed with Islamic terrorists on an almost daily basis.
November 22, 2014: In the West Bank Israeli police conducted raids and arrested twelve men wanted for throwing fire bombs and organizing violent groups of rock throwers. North of Jerusalem a Palestinian threw a pipe bomb at police patrolling a refugee camp. The bomb missed the police and instead wounded an Arab civilian. The police are still seeking the bomber.
In Egypt (Beni Suef province) a bomb went off on a rail line. When police investigated they found the body of the man who planted the bomb, dead from the explosion he set off while planning the device. Police combed the rail line in both directions and found and disarmed several other bombs.
Egypt announced it had completed removing thousands of people and hundreds of structures from a 500 meter wide buffer zone with Gaza. In late October 28 Egypt ordered people living within 300 meters of the Gaza border to leave their homes immediately, taking their possessions with them. At least 10,000 Egyptians were displaced by the order. The army is setting up a 13.8 long security zone along the Gaza border that was eventually to be 500 meters wide. This is in order to detect and destroy smuggling tunnels. To make it even more difficult for tunnel builders the security zone will feature a 40 meter (128 foot) wide and 20 meter deep ditch from the Mediterranean inland. This ditch will be filled with salt water from the sea and make it even more difficult to build tunnels because the water will seep down deeper and make it more expensive to tunnel beneath it. This and the new detection methods will also force the tunnels to be dug deeper and all this will make it more expensive to build and use the tunnels. Most Egyptians in northern Sinai are anti-tunnel because the tunnels are basically run by gangsters and Islamic terrorists, two groups that are seen causing more trouble for the locals. Egypt blames Hamas for much of this violence because Hamas tolerates the presence of these anti-Egypt Islamic terror groups in Gaza and lets them use the smuggling tunnels to move between Egypt (where they stage attacks) and Gaza (where they are safe from Egyptian retaliation). Even before the security zone decision Egypt had detected hundreds more tunnels using satellite based sensors and new ground based search procedures. The 500 meter security zone will make most of the current tunnels useless and force the tunnel operators to dig deeper into Egypt.
November 21, 2014: In the West Bank four Israeli settlers entered a nearby Palestinian village and damaged homes and vehicles. This was apparently in reprisal for recent Palestinian attacks on settlers.
In Egypt (northern Sinai) schools in two towns near the Gaza border were closed indefinitely as security forces began a major counter-terrorist operation in the area.
November 20, 2014: Police announced that they had foiled a plot by three West Bank Palestinians to assassinate the foreign minister with an RPG. Police detected the plot before the three could obtain the RPG and made arrests. The three turned out to be a Hamas cell and their leader had served time in prison for terrorist activities. Police have found that many of the recent attacks in Israel and the West Bank were organized by Hamas and that encouraged some non-Hamas Palestinians to make these impromptu attacks with whatever weapons (kitchen knives or vehicles) were available. Fatah, the Palestinian group that runs the West Bank, had to support this violence because it is being forced by Hamas to keep up in the hate (Israel) speech department. Otherwise Hamas gains more followers among young West Bank men, the kind of people who create violent street demonstrations against corrupt Palestinian politicians as well as Israel. The Israelis can handle this violence more successfully than Palestinian politicians. Fatah normally cooperates with Israel in counter-terrorism matters, and is actually still doing so. Despite that Fatah leaders must constantly make speeches in Arabic supporting the terrorists and their attacks on Israelis.
In response to this Hamas angle Palestinian police arrested 30 suspected Hamas members in the last three days. Fatah leaders know this goes against the “kill the Israelis” rhetoric they have been spewing over the last few months, but Fatah also knows that Hamas wants to displace Fatah as the leader of West Bank Palestinians. Hamas terrorist cells in the West Bank can go after Fatah members (and have on several occasions) even more readily than Israelis (who tend to be much more effective at defending themselves). Although Fatah praises recent Palestinian terror attacks in Israel they know that this violence hurts Palestinians in general because Israel reacts with more restrictions on Palestinians working in Israel. Palestinians need these jobs, but Israelis would rather pay more to import and hire non-Moslem foreigners if Palestinian workers are likely to try and kill Israelis. Hamas does not care about this collateral damage and most Palestinians know it, which is why Hamas is having a hard time gaining political traction in the West Bank. Palestinians know that Hamas policies produce more poverty and casualties for Palestinians.
In the southern city of Ashkelon the mayor has banned the use of Israeli Arabs in some city construction jobs. The mayor did this was to lessen the risk of Arab construction workers carrying out terror attacks. National leaders criticized this decision, but the growing number of Israeli Arabs involved in terror attacks has caused some hysteria among many Jewish Israelis.
November 19, 2014: Israeli troops demolished the homes of the two Palestinian men who recently killed five Jews in a Jerusalem synagogue. In early 2005 Israel halted the policy of destroying the homes of families of terrorists involved in killing Israelis. This was another gesture to encourage the new Palestinian government to continue using their security forces to stop Palestinian terrorists from attacking Israelis. It seemed to work for a while until it didn’t. Such punishments of the families of men guilty of a crime is actually an ancient practice that is still widely used in the Middle East and worldwide. The persistence of this custom only occurs in cultures where extended families live together and all members of the family have regular contact and influence over each other. The influence has halted a lot of potential terrorists. That’s why Palestinian media praise the families, especially the mothers of terrorists who have killed or injured non-Moslems, especially Jews.
November 18, 2014: In Jerusalem two Israeli Arabs entered a synagogue and murdered five Jews worshiping there. This crossed a line (attacking people praying in a house of worship) that most Israelis and Palestinians believe should not be crossed and those who do cross the line should be severely punished. The two attackers were shot dead by the first two police to show up and the family homes of the two were destroyed.
In Sinai the Egyptian Army accidentally fired a rocket at a compound full of civilians and killed ten of them.
November 16, 2014: In Jerusalem an Israeli was stabbed (with a screwdriver) by a Palestinian and wounded. The attacker got away and is being sought.
November 15, 2014: Near the Gaza border soldiers arrested an unarmed Palestinian man who apparently got across the security fence. The security fence is not impossible to get across, but those who do invariably set off sensors which triggers an alert and a search of the area. Nearly all those who get across are seeking a better life in Israel or the West Bank.
November 14, 2014: An Egyptian Islamic terrorist group, Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, which has declared itself an ally of ISIL, took credit for the October attack that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai.
November 12, 2014: Near the Gaza border soldiers arrested two unarmed Palestinian men who apparently got across the security fence.
November 11, 2014: Russia revealed that it has sold Egypt some S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. The S-300 is roughly equivalent to the American Patriot system. A year ago the Russian missile cruiser Varyag visited Egypt, the first such visit since the Cold War ended in 1991. Egypt continues to be a popular vacation spot for Russians, especially during the long Russian Winter. Russians still feel welcome in Egypt.
November 10, 2014: Two Palestinian knife attacks, one in Tel Aviv and the other in the West Bank left an Israeli woman and a soldier dead. In both cases the attackers were captured.
Egypt is sending several thousand more troops to Sinai to carry out anti-terrorist operations.
November 9, 2014: In the coastal city of Bat Yam police found and disarmed several bombs. Arrests of suspected Arab bomb builders were later made.
November 8, 2014: Over 5,000 Israeli Arabs demonstrated (with rocks, fire bombs, bonfires and Palestinian flags) outside an Arab village where police shot dead an Israeli Arab who had come after them with a knife.
Fatah leaders blame Hamas for a series of ten recent bomb attacks against the homes or automobiles of Fatah leaders.
November 7, 2014: Hamas announced the formation of an unarmed “Popular Army” of male volunteers over 20 years old. The first batch of 2,500 recruits would be trained to assist armed Hamas members in any future conflict with Israel. It is expected that these volunteers will eventually receive arms training and serve as a recruiting pool for armed Hamas security units and terror organizations.