September 5, 2011:
Turkey’s Islamic government has backed itself into a corner by demanding Israel apologize for defending itself when halting the 2010 blockade-breaking ships. The Turks demand an apology, compensation and an end to the blockade. This, despite the fact that Hamas (and many other groups in Gaza) are recognized as international terrorists and that Turkish activists on the ships were videoed attacking the Israeli boarding party. The Turks will not back down, and now threaten to send warships to escort yet another group of blockade breakers. This is pretty extreme, as the Israeli Navy has a lot more combat experience, and the Turks would be in waters long patrolled by the Israelis. This could easily escalate into an air war, another area where the Israelis have a lot more experience. The Arabs and Palestinians are all for this, as the Israelis have consistently defeated Arab forces, but the Turks are seen as much more capable. But are they capable enough?
Although Egypt is cooperating with Israel to shut down Islamic terrorist groups in Gaza, these groups are gaining strength within Egypt. That’s because the revolution that toppled the Mubarak dictatorship earlier this year, has led to a lot of Islamic radicals getting out of prison. These men have gone back to calling for a religious dictatorship, violence against Israel, and non-Moslems in particular. This includes the Egyptian Christians (mainly the Copts, who converted more than 500 years before the Islamic invaders arrived, and who are still over ten percent of the population). The stubbornness of the Copts, in refusing to convert to Islam, has led to centuries of persecution.
Israeli and Egyptian intelligence have both received information from sources that Islamic terror groups in Gaza and Egypt are planning more attacks against Israel. Meanwhile, Israel has equipped Jewish settlers in the West Bank with riot control tools and training, to be used against expected Palestinian use of non-violent demonstrations. Settlers have always been equipped and trained to use firearms to defend themselves against violent attacks.
September 4, 2011: Egypt has followed up on warnings (to people living on the Gaza border) that all smuggling tunnels would be closed. Many are built from buildings and basements on the Egyptian side. Police are now searching buildings along the border for tunnels. All this is in response to more active Islamic terrorists operating from Gaza, and an attack by some of these terrorists last month that killed eight Israelis.
September 3, 2011: A Lebanese court convicted a retired army general for supplying classified information to Israel in the 1980s and 90s. The general belonged to a Christian political party that is allied with Hezbollah.
Over 400,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv to demand something be done about the high cost-of-living. In part, this is a protest against the power of the minority religious parties, which have obtained lots of money to support, and protect, Israeli settlements in the West Bank (and before that, Gaza), as well as to subsidize ultra-orthodox families.
September 2, 2011: Turkey responded to the UN report by expelling the Israeli ambassador, and suspending all military activities with Israel. This ban is very unpopular with Turkish military leaders. Relations with Turkey have been going downhill since 2007, when the
Islamic Justice and Development Party won reelection, and decided to turn on Israel in order to increase influence in Arab countries. That has not worked out so well, but the Islamic Justice and Development Party leaders are not willing to back down.
September 1, 2011: A UN report on the 2010 activist convoy trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, was leaked. The report admitted that the Israeli blockade was legal, but criticized the Israeli troops for using excessive force in defending themselves against Turkish activists attacking them with iron bars and other weapons. The “excessive force” angle has been popular with those who want to criticize someone for defending themselves. This attitude is particularly popular in Europe, where it is often illegal to use force to deal with armed men breaking into your home. Israel, the United States and many other nations do not agree with the “excessive force” movement.
August 31, 2011: Two rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. There were no injuries.
August 29, 2011: Israel revealed that it had evidence that anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles taken from abandoned Libyan arsenals had been smuggled into Gaza.
August 28, 2011: Another rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel. There is supposed to be a ceasefire, but the Hamas government in Gaza refuses to exercise control over the many smaller Islamic terror groups.
Israel turned down the Egyptian request to bring soldiers into the Sinai Peninsula. Israel had allowed a thousand troops in two weeks ago, to help hunt down Islamic terrorists. According to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, Sinai is demilitarized, but army forces are allowed in if Israel agrees to it.
August 27, 2011: Israel denied that it had agreed to allow Egyptian army helicopters and armored vehicles (but not tanks) to enter the Sinai to help with the search for Islamic terrorists. Israel announced that it is considering the request, and discussing with Egyptian officials exactly how it would be carried out.