Israel: September 28, 1999


  In response to attacks by Amal militia on Israeli positions in south Lebanon, Israeli aircraft, helicopters and artillery hit Amal positions in Lebanon. 

September 27;  In response to attacks by Hezbollah militia on Israeli positions in south Lebanon, Israeli aircraft fired over two dozen missiles at Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. One Lebanese civilian, four South Lebanon militiamen and an Israeli soldier were wounded in the Hezbollah attack. Two other militiamen were killed.

September 25; While Israel remains the dominant military power in the Middle East, the Arab states have substantially improved their positions over the last 20 years. Egypt has become a major military power due to US aid since the Camp David Accords. Syria has invested heavily in missiles to offset the Israeli superiority in airpower. Iraq still has a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, and Iran will shortly have missiles capable of delivering its own such weapons onto Israeli soil. There are now 40,000 armed Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Turkey, Israel's new ally, could be kept out of any conflict by pressure from Russia and Iran. Russia and China are increasingly frustrated by US dominance of the world and could support some kind of Syrian or Arab attack. Most telling of all, Syria is aware that the US pressured Israel into returning the Sinai to Egypt only six years after Egypt failed to recapture it in war.--Stephen V Cole

September 24; The US is quietly floating a plan to end the sanctions on Iraq if it will agree to accept up to two million Palestinians (who have been in refugee camps for decades) for permanent resettlement. The Israelis will never allow these refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes or to move to the new Palestinian Authority. Israel insists that the Arab states which expelled their Jewish populations (confiscating their property) during 1948-52 must accept the Palestinians in exchange.--Stephen V Cole


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