May 23, 2013:
Israeli leaders are openly calling for an interim peace deal with the Palestinians, since it seems pretty obvious that a permanent deal is out-of-the-question. Israel has been offering the Palestinians permanent deals for 14 years but has gotten nothing back by violence and a growing torrent of anti-Semitic propaganda in the Palestinian media. There is also pressure on the Palestinians from Arab states, who are becoming more vocal in their frustration at the Palestinian tactics. Some Arab states would rather do business with Israel than continue threatening to destroy the most advanced economy in the region. So far the Palestinians are ignoring this, providing yet another example of how skilled the Palestinians are at missing opportunities to move forward.
Since no peace seems possible with Hezbollah in south Lebanon, Israel has become more vocal in making it clear that it will do everything possible to see that no (or very few) weapons are delivered from Syria to Hezbollah. Iran has been trying to get advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, along with longer range rockets, to Hezbollah. Most of these missiles are from Russia and Israel continues to seek ways to persuade the Russians to stop sending this stuff to Syria.
Syria has admitted that its troops deliberately fired on Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights recently. The Assad government is also insisting that Israel is supplying the rebels, something Israel and the rebels deny. The Syrians are humiliated by the two recent Israeli air raids and are trying to strike back. The Assads are trying to pitch any Israeli activity against them as support for the rebels, and thus make it more difficult (from a public relations standpoint) for Arab governments to continue supporting the rebels. Of course, the Assads could just fire one or two ballistic missiles at Israel. But this is risky, as the Israeli anti-missile system might work as advertised and leave the Syrians looking even more pathetic. If a missile got through, the Israelis would respond with an aerial campaign concentrating on all the Syrian long-range missiles. While some of these big missiles have been used against rebels, this was generally considered excessive and something of a war crime because most of the dead were women and children. Israel would love to have an excuse to go after the Syrian rocket arsenal, but so far the Syrians are not biting. If all the Syrians do is continue shooting across the border, then Israel will get better at quickly replying with guided missiles or aircraft. The Syrians know that this is a losing proposition and not really worth the damage it does to the morale of Syrian troops in the Golan Heights.
In preparation for a civil defense exercise this weekend, Israeli officials are telling citizens that attacks on large cities with long range rockets is inevitable, a matter of when not if.
May 22, 2013: Hezbollah has sent a thousand or more men into Syria, and many of them have been fighting around the border town of Qusair, in cooperation with Syrian troops. Hezbollah suffered heavy casualties there in the last week (ten percent or more of those involved dead, wounded, and captured). Meanwhile, Israeli aircraft have been seen practicing attack operations over southern Lebanon. This is in part for the training but also to remind Hezbollah of what will happen if Israel is fired on by the Lebanese Shia terrorist militia.
After six days the Egyptian border crossing in Gaza was finally reopened because the kidnapped policeman and soldiers were released. This allowed the 2,500 Palestinians trapped in Egypt and at least 5,000 waiting to enter Egypt to cross. The seven Egyptian soldiers and a policeman were kidnapped on the 16th by some Islamic terrorists seeking to get some of their pals out of jail (where they have been for two years). The search for the missing men continued but negotiations were undertaken as well. Hamas insisted that Palestinians are not involved, although at first many Egyptians were dubious of this. Many Egyptian soldiers were particularly angry as five of the kidnaped men worked at the Gaza crossing. The Egyptians sent over a thousand additional troops and police into Sinai in the last week to assist with the search. Egyptian police are still angry over four cops kidnapped two years ago who have not been released and are believed to be held in Gaza.
May 21, 2013: Hamas placed more gunmen on the Egyptian border, to prevent seven Egyptian soldiers and a policeman kidnapped by Islamic terrorists from being brought into Gaza (where Islamic terrorists control some neighborhoods and could put up quite a fight if Hamas tried to come in).
While clearing an old minefield in the Golan Heights, an Israeli soldier was killed (and two wounded) when an old anti-tank mine exploded.
May 20, 2013: For the third time in a week Syrian troops fired on Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights. An Israeli vehicle was damaged but there were no injuries. Israeli artillery fired back with Tammuz guided missiles.
In the Sinai gunmen fired at an Egyptian police facility from a passing truck and police fired back, but there were no casualties.
May 19, 2013: Egyptian policemen protesting the recent kidnapping of seven Egyptian soldiers and a policeman briefly blocked the main road between Egypt and Israel.
May 17, 2013: In the West Bank a particularly large and violent group of Palestinians, throwing rocks at traffic, refused Israeli orders to disperse and turned their attacks towards the soldiers. The troops opened fire, wounding nine Palestinians and causing the mob to disperse.
May 16, 2013: Islamic terrorists in Sinai (al Arish) kidnapped seven Egyptian soldiers and a policeman. Hamas immediately placed armed guards at smuggling tunnels to prevent the kidnapped men from being brought into Gaza. Egyptian soldiers manning the only crossing into Gaza shut down traffic. This was against orders but the troops are angry that the government does not do enough to find kidnapped troops or shut down the Islamic terrorists in Sinai and Gaza who are doing it.
May 15, 2013: The Syrian Army announced that they had captured an Israeli truck from Syrian rebels. A picture was shown and Israel pointed out that the vehicle had belonged to the pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army, which was disbanded 13 years ago when Israel pulled its troops out of south Lebanon and some vehicles and equipment were left behind. Hezbollah grabbed most of that stuff and apparently turned one of the old trucks over to the Syrians for propaganda purposes. It’s obvious that it’s an old truck that is being used for anti-rebel propaganda (that the rebels are receiving help from Israel).