March 29, 2006:
As expected, with Israeli forces gone from Gaza, the smuggling of weapons into the area has increased. Now the Palestinian terrorists are getting Russian designed rockets. The ones found (in pieces, in southern Israel) so far are nine foot long, 122mm diameter, BM-21s. These have 45 pound warheads, but not much better accuracy than the home made Palestinian Kassam rockets. The BM-21 fired yesterday may have been another home made rocket, using BM-21 components. Egyptian firms make local versions of the BM-21, and other Russian designed, rockets. So it would be possible to buy the components from any number of Egyptian manufacturers. The Palestinian rocket attacks are increasing. Although the unguided rockets are not very accurate, they do cause some casualties, and there is always the risk they will hit some critical infrastructure (like a power plant), or a large group of people (a class room or meeting.)
March 28, 2006: Israeli radars detected four Palestinian rockets being fired into southern Israel today. Two Bedouins died in southern Israel as they handled a Palestinian Kassam rocket that had landed without exploding. More ominously, one of the Palestinian rockets appeared to be a Russian designed BM-21 122mm rocket. These are nine feet long, weigh 150 pounds, and have a range of twenty kilometers. Not very accurate (they are usually fired in salvos), they have never been fired from the Gaza strip before.
March 27, 2006: Israel held national elections, and the new, centrist Kadima party won 23 percent of the seats. The leftist Labor party won 17 percent. The former ruling party (which Kadima broke off from), Likud, won nine percent of the vote. As usual, there will have to be a coalition government. Most Israeli political parties agree that there are no Palestinians to negotiate with right now, and the only prudent thing to do is wall off the Palestinians and hope that eventually there is someone on the other side that can be negotiated with. The current Palestinian party in power, Hamas, believes that Israel must be destroyed. This limits how far Hamas can go in negotiating with Israel.
March 24, 2006: Two more Kassam rockets were fired into southern Israel. An Israeli patrol was attacked along the Gaza border, and a Palestinian was caught after he climbed over the Gaza security fence and entered Israel.