September 25, 2006:
Iran is encouraging Palestinian clergy to convert to Shia Islam. The encouragement comes in the form of support (money and power), and the example of how Iran built up the Lebanese Hizbollah organization. There aren't many Shia among the Palestinians, but the offer of Iranian support is attractive, especially with the Hizbollah victory over the Summer, and Iran's continuing effort to build nuclear weapons. Everyone loves a winner, even a self-declared one.
September 24, 2006: Lebanese Christians, who comprise about 40 percent of the population, held a large rally in Beirut, where Hizbollah was denounced for causing the war with Israel, and all the destruction that followed. Christians do not go along with the claim that Hizbollah won the war with Israel. Many Christians support the call for Hizbollah to disarm, and for south Lebanon to return to control of the Lebanese government.
September 23, 2006: Fatah, which controls the separately elected president of the Palestinian Authority (and most of the unpaid government employees) has been unable to form a unity government with Hamas. The idea was that the two would form a new entity (the "unity government") that would drop the offending Hamas policies (the destruction of Israel and terrorism) that offend Western aid donors. But Hamas will not go for this, as it wants to keep its hatred pure and unadulterated. Meanwhile, Fatah is angry with Hamas because Hamas death squads have been attacking, and sometimes killing, Fatah leaders lately. Hamas, of course, denies everything.
For the first time in forty years, Lebanese soldiers deployed on the 112 kilometer border with Israel. Less than a thousand Lebanese soldiers took up positions along the border, although unarmed Hizbollah men often manned the border crossings as well. The Hizbollah guys appear to be in charge, and have the final say.
September 22, 2006: Hizbollah leaders showed up in public for the first time since the war ended last month. They announced that they had replenished their weapon supplies, now had over 20,000 rockets and would never disarm. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinian terrorists have resumed firing rockets into southern Israel, after a short (a few days) halt. In the last three months, Israeli efforts to stop these rockets has left over 200 Palestinians dead, half of them terrorists, the rest of them Palestinian civilians. Israel is also trying to rescue an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinians three months ago.
September 21, 2006: Israeli troops killed five Palestinians. Israeli soldiers and police conduct counter-terror operations daily in Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinian terror organization continue to plan attacks on Israel. But the Israelis have an extensive informer network, and hundreds of police commandos who look, act and speak like Palestinians (these are Israelis whose ancestors were expelled from Arab countries in the late 1940s), and are able to track down and arrest most terrorists before they can pull off attacks. This, however, often involves terrorists who do not want to be arrested, and resist with force.
September 20, 2006: In Gaza, gunmen invaded the offices of the WAFA news agency, destroyed equipment, intimidated employees and beat one of them. WAFA is generally pro-Fatah, and the gunmen were apparently from Hamas. Both Fatah and Hamas have been getting increasingly physical in their battle for control of the Palestinian government. While Hamas has the majority of elected legislators and, technically, control of the government, most bureaucrats and government employees are still Fatah supporters. Hamas wants to put its people in, but this has not been possible because there is no money to pay them. Since Hamas took power earlier this year, Western aid has been cut off. Hamas is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The Western donors could not stomach subsidizing such an outfit. So no Palestinian Authority employees have been paid for the last six months. Enough food and medical aid still gets in, to prevent starvation or epidemics.
September 19, 2006: The UN now has 5,000 peacekeepers in south Lebanon.