Israel: Arms Race in Gaza


October 9, 2006: Aid groups in Gaza are complaining that terrorist organizations (sixteen by their count) are using force to grab a share of whatever foreign aid is available. Since neither Fatah nor Hamas have been able to impose order to the area, and the economy is depressed because Hamas has not been able to work out a deal with foreign aid organizations (who oppose the Hamas policy of destroying Israel), there are increasing shortages of just about everything. Except young guys with guns and attitude.
The UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon is at about half strength, and its members are complaining about all the restrictions on them. UN peacekeepers are basically there to provide back up for the Lebanese army. But the Lebanese army says it will do nothing to control Hizbollah, so it's easy to see why the UN peacekeepers feel useless.
October 8, 2006: Israeli border police caught three Egyptians trying to smuggle illegal drugs into Israel. The same Egyptian smuggling gangs that move weapons into Gaza for Palestinian groups, tries to move drugs into Gaza and Israel.
October 7, 2006: The Hamas militia in Gaza has increased to about 5,000 armed men. Some Hamas member claim 10,000 armed men, but more realistic estimates are half that figure. Back when Hamas took control of the government in March, Hamas only had about 2,000 armed men. Smuggled and stolen (from Fatah) weapons have fed the growth. The gunmen are largely untrained, poorly trained and led. As Hamas has put more gunmen on the street, there have been more clashes with Fatah gunmen. Meanwhile, the Fatah president of the Palestinian government has expanded the Presidential Guard from 2,500 to nearly 4,000. Israel and the U.S. are suspected of helping Fatah get the weapons for this expansion.
Egyptian police arrested four Egyptian smugglers as they were about to enter a newly constructed tunnel across the Egyptian border into Gaza. Lebanon says it has arrested members of four Islamic terrorist groups. Hizbollah is the only Islamic terror organization allowed to operate openly in Lebanon, and that's mainly because Hizbollah is too powerful for the police or army to disarm.
October 6, 2006: A company if Israeli mechanized infantry moved into northern Gaza, in response to continued Palestinian rocket attacks launched from there. Israel continues to battle Palestinian terrorist groups, making daily raids, on the ground, and missile attacks from the air.
October 3, 2006: Israel is, not unexpectedly, favoring Fatah in the Palestinian civil war. This is done by making it easier for Fatah supporters to move around, providing supplies (possibly including weapons) and information. Fatah and Hamas have proved unable to form a coalition.


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