Israel: The Economy Of Death

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p> June 16, 2008:  The war in Gaza is getting bloodier. Last year, ten Israelis were killed (civilians from Kassam rockets and soldiers in raids, or while guarding the security fence). So far this year, eight Israelis have died. Palestinians also suffer losses (5-10 for each Israeli lost), but they are on the offensive, in their campaign to destroy Israel. Hamas is encouraged at the moment, because their rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel have killed three Israeli civilians in three weeks. Israelis have gotten better at locating and destroying rockets before they can be fired. That does not stop the attacks, because Hamas is offering pay and goods to those who will work on the dangerous job of emplacing and firing the rockets. High bonuses are paid for those who carry out suicidal attacks on the security fence around Gaza, or the Israeli troops guarding it. Iran pays for most of this, and Iranian subsidized violence has become a major part of the Gaza economy.

 

A year ago Hamas took control of Gaza, and its 1.5 million inmates, after a week of fighting that caused over 500 casualties (including 160 dead). Fatah was defeated, and today keeps a low profile. Hamas has cracked down on the clan based gangs, demanding payoffs to allow some illegal activity (especially smuggling) to continue. Hamas takes control of most of the foreign aid entering Gaza, and enforces its control by deciding who gets the food, medicine, fuel and other scarce supplies. Emulating its sponsor Iran, Hamas runs a religious police state, which mainly benefits the leadership, and makes criticism a high-risk activity.

 

June 15, 2008:  The rising price of oil is forcing Syria to make peace with Israel. Despite financial support from Iran, the Syrians have been forced to cut subsidies (to keep the price of fuel low). That has led to higher prices for everything. Several decades of cronyism and corruption have done lots of damage to the economy, and the ruling gang (the Alawite religious minority) sense growing unrest among the Sunni Arab majority. Peace with Israel would encourage foreign investment and economic growth. But such a peace deal would anger Iran, and likely cut off aid from them. But maybe not. So for there to be peace with Israel, the open negotiations with Israel must succeed, as well as the backroom talks with the Iranian puppet masters.

 

June 14, 2008:  The U.S. has criticized Israel for building 1,300 new apartments in East Jerusalem (which Palestinians claim as the capital of Palestine). Israel, being a democracy, has to placate the religious parties, and this is done by allowing  construction of housing on land the Jewish religious groups have bought in East Jerusalem.

 

June 13, 2008:  Negotiations to free the Israeli soldier held by Hamas are stalled because Hamas demands the release of dozens of Islamic terrorists who have killed Israelis. Hamas demands a total of 450 Palestinians to be released in return for the Israeli soldier. Hamas also offers a truce, but Israel wants guarantees that Hamas will uphold its end. Israel does not trust Hamas, which has openly said that any tactic is legitimate in the campaign to destroy Israel. Meanwhile, negotiations with Hizbollah, for the release of two soldiers captured in 2006, are said to be near completion.

 

June 12, 2008:  In Gaza, a two story house exploded, killing six and wounding 25. Hamas claimed it was a missile attack on one of their best bomb makers. Israel said they had not made an attack, and that it was obvious, from pictures of the ruins, that the explosion was internal (from a bomb building accident). However, in "retaliation", Hamas fired over three dozen rockets and mortar shells into Israel over the next 24 hours. Hamas likes to play down how dangerous it is to be a bomb maker, especially since Israel has killed many of the more experienced ones, and the replacements are less skilled and more likely to blow themselves up.

 

June 10, 2008:  The U.S. is supplying Egypt with detection equipment for finding smuggling tunnels (between Egypt and Gaza). This is part of a $23 million project that was authorized by Congress six months ago. Egyptian troops have been sent to the United States to receive training, from U.S. Army engineers, on how to operate the new gear.

 

 


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