Israel: Palestinian Civil War Continues


December27, 2006: Since the November 26 truce, at least 50 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Israel has not retaliated, and the Palestinians say these firings do not violate the truce because there are fewer rockets being fired than before the truce (which called for a halt to all rocket firings.)

In Lebanon, four weeks of Hizbollah sponsored demonstrations in the capital has not forced the government to grant Hizbollah veto power over government decisions. Hizbollah factions are debating whether they should increase the pressure by shutting down roads and economic activity throughout the country. This could trigger civil war.

December 26, 2006: For the last two nights, there has been mortar fire, from Gaza, aimed at Israeli troops guarding the border fence.

December 25, 2006: Israel took down 27 checkpoints in the West Bank, making it easier for Palestinians to move around. There are some 400 checkpoints, manned by soldiers, in the West Bank. About 60 percent of suicide bombers headed for Israel, are stopped by one of these check points, and many Israelis see the removal of checkpoints as increasing the odds that there will be another suicide attack in Israel. The government believes that counter-terror security is not being compromised by taking down some of the checkpoints. The government wants to take down 59 checkpoints, and have shorter, and less thorough, examinations, at the checkpoints.

December 23, 2006: The Israeli prime minister, and the Palestinian president (and head of the Fatah party) met in Jerusalem. Israel said it would release $100 million in Palestinian taxes it had been holding, and take down some checkpoints in the West Bank. All this is supposed to increase the Palestinian support for Fatah, against Hamas. Fatah is trying to schedule new elections, but Hamas is refusing to go along with it.

December 22, 2006: The truce in Gaza sort of held, with there being a reduction in violence. By Palestinian standards, this is progress.

December 21, 2006: The U.S. enacted a law forbidding any American aid for Hamas, but allowing support of Fatah.

December 20, 2006: After several days of violence in Gaza, and at least ten dead, Fatah and Hamas worked out a ceasefire, and got their gunmen off the street. However, there was still some shooting, and Fatah and Hamas gunmen continued to clash in the West Bank.


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