October 24, 2010:
The current round of peace talks, sponsored by the United States, continues to produce nothing. Palestinian officials, when speaking in Arabic, openly describe the talks as just a propaganda opportunity to make Israel look bad. These same Palestinian officials repeat the same goals they have been pushing for decades, that of destroying Israel, not making peace deals. Officially, most Western nations refuse to recognize this reality, although, off-the-record, they are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the Arab intransigence. The fixation on destroying Israel is another manifestation of the "Arab disease" that the Arabs are not eager to deal with at the moment. But so many Arab nations have, for so long, backed the "Israel must be destroyed" line, that it is seen as too difficult to change now. So the Arab world continues down the path to nowhere, and the rest of world generally stumbles along behind them.
There's growing terrorism against Palestinians, by Israelis living in the West Bank settlements. This is in response to Palestinian terror attacks. Most settlers simply depend on the Israeli troops assigned to the settlements. But some of the more radical settlers (who believe Arabs should be expelled from the West Bank) attack Palestinian property, and sometimes Palestinians themselves, as a form of intimidation and to discourage Palestinian attacks on settlements. Israeli troops try to keep the Palestinians and radical settlers away from each other. The Arab media plays up the settler attacks and ignores the more widespread Palestinian attacks against the settlers.
With great fanfare, the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank and is run by the Fatah party, has set up a new anti-corruption court. Corruption is a major problem throughout the Arab world, but the Palestinians, particularly Fatah, are seen as the most accomplished practitioners. Part of it has to do with the dependence of so many Palestinians on foreign aid. Since Israel was founded, Arab states have generally refused to allow Palestinians who left to become citizens. Gaza is, technically, a big refugee camp, and even some Palestinians in the West Bank are considered refugees. The NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that administer most of the aid programs tend to consider corruption just another tool to get the job done (getting some of the aid to the people it was intended for), but the local officials in the West Bank also demand a cut, and Fatah leaders have grown very rich by taking a cut for themselves. Hamas came to power in Gaza five years ago, largely on the promise of cutting the corruption. They did, for a while, but also established a police state, which has now gone corrupt, as police states tend to do. Fatah passed an extensive anti-corruption law five years ago, but it has been largely ineffective. The new anti-corruption court is supposed to deal with the most flagrant scam by corrupt officials charged under the 2005 law; endlessly delaying the case in court. Few Palestinians believe the new anti-corruption court will make any difference. There will be some convictions, of those least able to bribe the new court.
October 20, 2010: U.S. and Israeli troops completed a week of joint anti-missile missile operations exercises. The U.S. supplies a lot of the equipment and technology used in Israel's anti-missile system (mainly for defense against attacks from Syria and Iran).
October 17, 2010: For the first time in nearly a month, Israeli troops killed Palestinians in Gaza. An Israeli warplane killed two Palestinians who were preparing to fire a rocket or mortar into Israel. There have been 165 rockets or mortar shells fired into Israel so far this year, despite a ceasefire with Hamas, which was supposed to halt all such attacks. But to prevent civil war (with radical terror groups) inside Gaza, Hamas tolerates some attacks.
October 12, 2010: Hamas closed down the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate headquarters. This is the largest journalists organization in the Palestinian Territories and represents Palestinian journalists internationally. Hamas has been unhappy with the Syndicate because most Palestinian journalists tend to be hostile to Hamas efforts to control all media operations in Gaza. Hamas is becoming increasingly angry with Fatah efforts to shut down Hamas organizations in the West Bank (which is often in retaliation to Gaza suppressing Fatah activities in Gaza). Hamas is now threatening to attack Fatah leaders.
October 9, 2010: Mortar shells were fired into Israel from Gaza. There were no injuries.
October 8, 2010: In the West Bank, two Hamas terrorists died when they opened fire on Israeli police sent to arrest them. The two were identified as part of a terrorist cell responsible for killing four Israelis last August. The rest of the Hamas sponsored group are still being sought.
October 7, 2010: Israeli warplanes hit several targets in Gaza, wounding six Palestinians. These raids were in retaliation for the rocket attack on Israel yesterday.
October 6, 2010: Rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. One of the rockets malfunctioned and landed in Gaza. None of the rockets did any damage.