Israel: The Annual Palestinian Suicide Bombing


February 5, 2008: The Gaza border with Egypt has effectively been opened by Hamas. In a three year old deal with Egypt, after Israel withdrew from Gaza, Egypt promised to control their border with Gaza. But Hamas has shown itself more willing to use force than the Egyptians. However, the Egyptians have managed to stop vehicle traffic, but not pedestrians. Hamas is demanding joint control of the border, something the Egyptians will either have to grant, or use force to oppose. Egypt has already arrested over a dozen armed Palestinians in the nearby Sinai desert. These men were terrorists off to carry out attacks. Meanwhile, Palestinians continue to launch rockets into southern Israel. It's easier to get weapons, including rocket building supplies, into Gaza now, so the Israelis expect more rocket attacks.

The Palestinians are also still feuding over who is in charge. Fatah is insisting that Hamas allow new elections (which polls show Hamas would lose), while Hamas wants to be declared ruler of Gaza. Fatah will not allow this, because the Israelis will continue to choke off most supplies to Gaza. Hamas also continues to call for war with Egypt, something that is popular with a lot of Palestinians in the abstract, but not so much when it gets down to day-to-day privations.

February 4, 2008: There was a gun battle on the Lebanese border, as Israeli troops caught two Lebanese men trying to smuggle drugs into Israel. One of the Lebanese was killed. In the south, Hamas gunmen and Egyptian police exchanged fire as the Egyptians tried to impose control over who could cross the border. Hamas is having unarmed mobs attack the police at the crossings, tossing stones and insults at the cops, and trying to push their way past the border post.

In southern Israel, two Palestinian suicide bombers attacked in a mall in the town of Dimona. They killed one Israeli and wounded eleven. One of the bombers was shot dead by police before the explosive belt could be set off. This was the first terrorist attack in Israel in a year (the last one killed three Israelis). Israeli police are checking to see if these two attackers were from Gaza, and got into Israel via the breached Gaza-Egypt border. It's more likely the two bombers were from the West Bank, where suicide bombers try to get into Israel every week. Israeli counter-terror tactics have largely rendered Palestinian attacks harmless. But these counter-terror operations mean that dozens of Palestinian terrorists are killed, wounded or arrested each week.

February 1, 2008: In the west African country of Mauritania, three gunmen opened fire on the Israeli embassy, wounding three people in a nearby night club, but no one in the embassy. Three men were quickly arrested. Al Qaeda later took credit for the attack. Mauritania is one of three Arab countries (along with Egypt and Jordan) that have diplomatic relations with Israel.

January 31, 2008: Hamas has, in effect, invaded Egypt and gotten away with it. Although the border breaches are now closed again, the Egyptians still allow two way traffic through the usual border crossings. The Israelis believe this enables terrorists to bring weapons and cash into Gaza, and send terrorists out. The Egyptians have an incentive to control the Gaza border, because Hamas has given sanctuary to Islamic terrorists making attacks against Egypt. But leaning too hard on the Palestinians is politically unpopular in Egypt, where, for decades, Israel has been portrayed in the media as the evil persecutor of the innocent Palestinians. However, the Hamas recent use of violence against Egyptian border police makes the Palestinians look less innocent, and more of a threat.

January 30, 2008: Yet another report on the 2006 war in Lebanon. Same conclusion. Israelis put too much emphasis on airpower, which Hizbollah was prepared to deal with. Israeli ground troops and commanders had spent most of the last few years on counter-terrorism activities, and were not prepared for ground combat in Lebanon. Basically, the military high command had screwed up.




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