Egypt has restored diplomatic and economic relations with Iran after 30 years. This has alarmed other Arab states, as well as many Egyptians. Many Islamic conservatives (who currently dominate the government) see Iran as a bunch of anti-Arab heretics (because most Iranians are Shia Moslems and most Iranians are Indo-Europeans or Turks). The Egyptian government has many other problems, like a growing economic recession triggered by the revolution two years ago. Then there is the growing violence between Islamic conservatives and Egyptian Christians (whose ancestors refused to convert to Islam over a thousand years ago, much to the continued anger of Moslems). Then there is the increased Egyptian support of Hamas in Gaza, which turned to anger when Gaza based Islamic terrorists made attacks against Egyptians. Things are currently tense between Egypt and Hamas.
In Gaza Arab diplomats have managed to keep more moderate Hamas leaders in power, in part by threatening to cut foreign aid (which keeps Hamas solvent). The radicals among the Hamas leadership are self-destructive, obsessed with destroying Israel, and global Islamic conquest. Egypt, for its part, continues to restrict use of smuggling tunnels into Gaza, making it difficult for Hamas to bring in more weapons.
So far this year there have been twice as many Israeli warplanes and helicopters seen over Lebanon compared to last year. The increased activity is all about the fighting in Syria and possible aggression against Israel by Iranian ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Over the last few days pro-Palestinian hackers tried to launch a major attack against Israeli web sites, but few inside (or outside) Israel noticed. The hackers declared a great victory, but without any tangible evidence of damage the hackers fell back on warning that next time it would be different.
The ceasefire with Hamas is coming apart. In the last six weeks there have been four incidents in which rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel. Hamas has problems with the independent radical groups that carry out these attacks, as well as radical factions within Hamas itself. One of these groups (in the Palestinian police) recently caused a lot of anger in Gaza by seizing some young men with long (and sometimes styled) hair, taking them to a police station, shaving their heads, roughing them up a bit, and releasing them with warning to adopt a more Islamic lifestyle. This sort of lifestyle police activity is very unpopular in Gaza and Hamas quickly announced that the head shaving was an isolated incident. Many Gazans are not so sure. When Hamas isn’t complaining about its own radicals it is accusing Arab and Western nations of running large informer and spy operations in Gaza. There is truth to this because many Gazans need extra cash and don’t like Hamas. That means there are plenty of Gazans willing to pass on information about conditions in Gaza and Hamas activity.
Palestinians are encouraged by a report that anti-Semitic violence increased 30 percent last year (686 attacks in 34 countries), compared to declines in the previous years. A major Palestinian effort to demonize Israel and convince many nations that Palestinians are victims of Israeli oppression is meant to eventually result in economic and other sanctions against Israel by Western nations. Anti-Semitic activity in the West is an indicator that there is growing hostility towards Jews and Israel. The one problem with this Palestinian tactic is that more Western politicians and aid (to Palestinian) donors are becoming aware of the decades old Palestinian internal propaganda campaign that calls for the destruction of Israel, not a peace deal. Palestinian leaders are having a hard time explaining this double dealing.
In the West Bank Palestinian leaders are trying to get another Intifada (general uprising) going. To this end they are encouraging (with praise, promises, and whatever) young men to carry out more rock throwing attacks on Israeli troops. This sort of thing sometimes escalates to firebombs and even gunfire. At that point Israeli troops will fire back bullets. In the last month there have been several deaths and over a hundred injuries among the attackers, but so far the Palestinian leadership has not been able to get a large-scale uprising going.
On the Syrian border Israeli troops have noted that more and more Syrian troops are being withdrawn from the frontier, apparently to help defend Damascus. This means that the Syrian rebels are controlling more of the border. Most of the Syrian rebels here are Islamic radicals, who are dedicated to the destruction of Israel. If any of these Islamic radicals try to get into Israel and carry out attacks they will probably fail, but this will cause many Israelis to call for intervention in the Syrian civil war, something the Israeli government has been trying to avoid.
April 7, 2013: In Egypt continued street violence between Islamic radicals and Christians left one dead and over 80 wounded.
In Gaza Islamic terrorists fired three more rockets at Israel. Two of them landed in Gaza but the third made it into Israel. In response Israel halted traffic on one of its two roads into Gaza and limited traffic on the other one to humanitarian aid (food, medicine, and the like). Hamas blames attacks like this on rogue radical groups but refuses to shut these outfits down. Hamas will sometimes arrest those responsible but they are later quietly released. Hamas does not want a war with the radicals who are more radical than Hamas.
April 5, 2013: In Egypt street violence between Islamic radicals and Christians left four Christians dead and many wounded.
The UN has halted distribution of food and other aid in Gaza, after one of its compounds was raided by dozens of angry Gazans. The attackers were angry that their aid had recently been cut. The UN is having more difficultly finding donors in the face of Hamas unwillingness to make peace and continued attacks on Israel from Gaza.
April 3, 2013: Syria accused Israeli aircraft of bombing another Syrian convoy in an effort to prevent Syria from transferring high-tech weapons (especially anti-aircraft missiles and chemical warfare gear) to Hezbollah. Israel refused to comment.
In Gaza Islamic terrorists fired another rocket at Israel. In response to yesterday’s attack Israeli warplanes bombed buildings used by Islamic radicals. There were no injuries.
April 2, 2013: Israeli troops fired several tank shells into Syria, to destroy a machine-gun that was firing into Israel and had hit an Israeli military vehicle.
In Gaza parents demonstrated against a new Hamas rule that children older than nine must go to gender-segregated schools.
In Gaza Islamic terrorists fired another rocket at Israel.