Israel: The People You Love To Hate

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October 30, 2008: Israel has a growing problem with Jewish religious radicals, most of whom are based in fortified settlements in the West Bank. The current government wants to bar known extremists from living in the West Bank, and jail those who refuse to comply. This will have to wait a few months, as  new elections must be held before Israel can form a new government out of the many political factions in parliament. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert had to resign last month (corruption charges). The new prime minister was to be former Mossad operative (and current foreign minister) Tzipi Livni. But she was unable to reassemble Olmerts parliamentary coalition. Now there's a chance that the centrist Kadema party of Olmert and Livni will lose the January elections, and be replaced by a more conservative coalition, that will go hard line on the Palestinian and Lebanese radicals (Hamas and Hezbollah.) Or maybe not, which is how it usually is in this part of the world.

The basic Israeli problem is the extreme xenophobia (fear of outsiders) that afflicts the Middle East. Israel is alone in welcoming refugees. Most of the Palestinians who fled the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, are still living as refugees in other Arab countries. The only exceptions are those who stayed in Israel, or fled to the West (where acceptance is more common, especially in North America.) To make matters worse, the Arab government have supported decades of "hate Israel and Jews" propaganda, which still persists in most of the Arab world. It's difficult to make peace under these circumstances, although Egypt and Jordan have worked out deals that have survived. But in both countries, the media still spews anti-Israel propaganda. This does not bode well for long term peace. The xenophobia has also been hard on any non-Moslems, but hatred of Christians or Hindus has not been turned into sustained media campaigns.

Another Kassam rocket was fired from Gaza, but did not hit anything of value in Israel. This is a violation of the ceasefire, and it happens about once a week. Palestinian terrorists continue to get through the security fence that surrounds Gaza, although these days the main goal is not getting into Israel, but ambushing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers or civilians. Hamas sees the Israelis as very sensitive about kidnapping, but the terrorists are having a difficult time carrying it out.

October 27, 2008: Israel has now openly accused Syria of arming Hezbollah and allowing its territory to be used for Hezbollah bases. All this is an open secret, but hatred of Israel in the Moslem world, and the spread of that attitude to Western Europe, has made it impossible for the UN to act on these violations of the peace deal that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

October 25, 2008: The Fatah government in the West Bank sent 550 additional police into Hebron (the largest West Bank city, population 180,000) to roundup dozens of Hamas activists, criminals and known terrorists. Similar roundups earlier took place in Jenin and Nablus when newly trained Fatah security personnel moved in. Hamas protested, and said these actions would hurt unity talks. But Fatah believes Hamas is out to be the sole leader of the Palestinians, and the "peace talks" are just another propaganda event for both organizations. The new Fatah police force was created to reduce the power of the criminal gangs, terrorist groups and Hamas. However, the new crackdown has put 170 Hamas activists in jail. In Gaza, Hamas has jailed 120 Fatah activists.

 


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