March 22, 2006:
Hamas has become more popular since it won parliamentary elections. An opinion poll found that 37 percent of Palestinians believe Hamas won because people wanted an Islamic government, while 36 percent believe it was because people wanted a corruption free government. Nine percent thought it was because a law and order government was wanted, and seven percent because people wanted rulers who would increase the terrorism against Israel. What it comes down to is, Palestinians want good government. The survey also showed that Palestinians will somehow get the foreign aid they need to survive, either from the West (where it comes from now), or from Moslem countries. Some 75 percent of Palestinians believe in continued negotiations with Israel, even though Hamas is less enthusiastic.
Food will be let in from Egypt to Gaza, despite the risk of weapons coming in as well.
March 21, 2006: Acting on a tip, Israeli police pulled over a van on the highway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, after a high speed chase. Inside they found ten Palestinians, and an 11 pound bomb. Apparently, the bomb was to be planted in Tel Aviv. Elsewhere, two Palestinians, arrested in December, were charged with working for al Qaeda. The two men were accused of meeting al Qaeda operatives in Jordan, and being given money and instructions on how to carry out a terror attack in Israel. This is the first time Israel has mentioned al Qaeda activity against them.
March 20, 2006: Israel opened the main cargo crossing between Israel and Gaza, for the first time in three months. But the crossing was closed 40 minutes later because of a terrorist alert. In that time, less than a days supply of food (some 70 tons of wheat) got through. Most Gaza bakeries are closed because of lack of wheat. Palestinians use the food shipments to smuggle in weapons.
March 19, 2006: Hamas offered a list of ministers to the Palestinian president, and the list was rejected. Hamas had negotiated with the other parties about how to share the ministries, but could not come to an agreement, and decided to put together an all-Hamas list. This list was full of Islamic radicals. So more negotiations are underway, and there is no functioning government in the meantime.
March 18, 2006: Non-Hamas gunmen have been invading government offices and threatening violence if they don't get jobs, or keep the government jobs they already have. There have been some gun battles with the police. The Palestinian Authority is a huge patronage machine, and there are more guys with guns looking for paychecks, than there are paychecks. Hamas may get creative with the money available (giving out less to more people), but the only real solution is expanding the Palestinian economy. That can only happen if there is peace with Israel, and that is against what Hamas stands for (the destruction of Israel.)