In Gaza, Hamas and Fatah gunmen fought in the main hospital, killing
one person and wounding eleven others. There are now 11,000 UN peacekeepers in
southern Lebanon. Hizbollah is calling for new national elections in Lebanon,
believing that they might have to votes to gain control of the government. The
ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians continues to hold, despite daily
incidents of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel. The Palestinians don't
consider this a violation, because not a lot of rockets are being fired, and
the Israelis are not responding with troops or artillery fire.
continues to maintain thousands of demonstrators in the capital, calling for
the Lebanese government to give Hizbollah veto power. The government refuses to
give in. Syria and Iran continue to send weapons across the border to
Hezbollah, and the UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon continue to stay out of
the way of Hizbollah operations.
18, 2006: A Fatah colonel was kidnapped, and killed, by Hamas. Gun battles in
Gaza left several wounded. Israel arms exports hit a record level in 2006, over
$4 billion dollars worth. This makes Israel the fourth largest arms exporter in
the world, after the U.S., Russia and France.
17, 2006: When Israel left Gaza last year, it was estimated that about 90
smuggling tunnels were operating underneath the Egyptian border. Now it appears
that over twice as many tunnels are operating. Each tunnel is a profitable
business, although many belong to terrorist groups and just bring in weapons.
Israel is particularly worried about better missile components coming into
Gaza, which will result in longer range, and more accurate missiles being fired
and Fatah agreed to a truce, which reduced, but did not eliminate, the level of
violence in Gaza. Hamas refused to participate in new elections called for
by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
16, 2006: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for new presidential and
parliamentary elections. Abbas is the Fatah leader, and believes his only
chance of regaining control of parliament, and restoring Western aid, is to
hope that enough Palestinians are fed up with Hamas. That appears to be a long
shot, as Palestinians appear as self-destructive as ever, and willing to vote
Hamas back in. Meanwhile, Abbas appointed younger, reform-minded men to senior
positions in the Fatah party.
gunfire could be heard more frequently in Gaza, as groups of armed Fatah and
Hamas supporters skirmished with each other. Abbas has been increasing
the size, and quality of his "Presidential Guard," which now contains
about 4,000 gunmen.
15, 2006: The majority of Palestinians blame the West for the current stalemate
between Hamas and Fatah. Because most Palestinians also agree with Hamas, that
Israel must be destroyed, Palestinians dismiss Western distress at the official
Hamas policy of destroying Israel. Palestinians consider the West hypocritical
for holding up aid to them because of this Hamas policy, and see the aid
restrictions as a Western attempt to interfere in Palestinian affairs.
Meanwhile, a recent poll in Israel found that 83 percent of Jewish Israelis
don't trust Arabs. This high degree of mistrust makes negotiation difficult, if