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.
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
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.
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.
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.