October 5, 2013:
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators continue to go through the motions of agreeing to a peace treaty. It is official (and well publicized) Palestinian policy to use such negotiations to weaken (and ultimately destroy) Israel, not to make any real peace. The U.S. insists that talks take place periodically anyway and threatens to withhold substantial foreign aid from both groups if negotiations do not happen every few years.
The Palestinians are encouraged by decades of support from other Arab countries. While the Arabs have never been able to defeat Israel militarily, they have achieved more success spending billions to turn Western public opinion against Jews in general and Israel in particular. Recent opinion surveys indicate that about 200 million Europeans (and a lot of Americans) consider Israelis the new Nazis for refusing to give in to the demands of the Palestinians (who want Israel destroyed in Arabic media but are more moderate in other languages). This shift in attitude has led to a dramatic increase in European anti-Semitism, most violently practiced by the rapidly growing Moslem population in Europe against a rapidly shrinking Jewish population.
As a result of all this, more and more Israelis are calling for an end to the Oslo Accords. The humiliation suffered by Yasser Arafar and the PLO at the hands of Israelis in Lebanon during Operation "Peace for Galilee" in 1982 effectively ejected Arafat's armed group from the country and went a long way towards paving the way for the Oslo Accords in 1993, that ended the PLO's armed campaign and began years of futile peace talks. Instead of a separate Palestinian state, Israelis want Jordan to take back the West Bank and Egypt to take back Gaza. Neither Jordan nor Egypt wants the Palestinians, who have, over the last two decades, demonstrated an inability to govern themselves and alienated a growing number of their Arab supporters.
Israel is concerned about the growing number of young (mainly in their 20s) Israeli Arab men going to Syria to fight with the rebels. It is feared that many will fall in with Islamic terrorist groups that will provide terrorist training and contacts that could make those who return a serious terrorist threat. So Israel is apparently monitoring the overseas travels of young Arab Israelis and keeping an eye on those that return.
In Egypt the Moslem Brotherhood, now banned and under increasing attack by the military and secret police, are trying to stay alive by staging regular (usually on Friday, the first day of the Islamic weekend) demonstrations in the capital and other large cities. Putting several thousand demonstrators into the streets is dangerous, as the police will open fire if things get out of hand. Then there are the anti-Brotherhood demonstrators, who can also get rough. Over 1,100 pro-Morsi (the Moslem Brotherhood elected president removed from power by the Army in July) demonstrators, police, and anti-Morsi activists have been killed in the past three months and many Moslem Brotherhood leaders have been arrested. The deaths are declining and the Morsi supporters remain determined but greatly outnumbered. Most Egyptians want, more than anything else, the economy to get better. The Moslem Brotherhood is seen as getting in the way of that. Tourist traffic for the first eight months of the year were down 7.8 percent compared to the same period last year. Tourism normally accounts for 12-15 percent of GDP and a lot of the essential (to pay for imports) foreign currency. Since the 2011 uprising, tourism is down by at least a third. Since the July coup the decline has slowed but foreigners are still scared off by the continued Moslem Brotherhood demonstrations and Islamic terrorism in Sinai.
The counter-terrorism operations continue in the Sinai with the Islamic terrorists there hiding among the largely sympathetic Bedouin population and attacking the security forces when able. In the last 32 months about 160 Islamic terrorists have died in Sinai along with 110 members of the Egyptian security forces (army, police, border guards). Three Israeli soldiers have also died there. About a thousand armed terrorists and 10,000 or more active supporters (many of them armed but not particularly violent) are in the Sinai. The largely Bedouin population of Sinai have long felt oppressed by the Egyptian government, a situation that has existed for thousands of years. The anti-government violence is nothing new, but the intensity is unusual. For years the Egyptians left the Islamic radicals in Sinai alone as long as any terrorist activity was directed at Israel. But many of the Islamic radicals wanted to “liberate” Egypt as well as Israel. That was a mistake because now the Egyptian government (and public opinion) is determined to crush the Islamic radicals. This has been done before, the last time was in the 1990s.
The Egyptian constitution is being rewritten and that should be finished by November. Elections will be held in 2014. The Moslem Brotherhood still has the strongest local political organizations but the Moslem Brotherhood has lost a lot of support because of its inability to get the economy going again, along with its attempts to impose strict Islamic lifestyle rules on Egypt.
In Gaza very few of the smuggling tunnels are still active. Most items now come in legally (and more expensively) from Israel. Egypt is letting little legal traffic into or out of Gaza in order to prevent Islamic terror groups from operating out of Gaza. Hamas controls Gaza but is still reluctant to suppress even more radical Islamic groups there, lest that trigger a civil war.
October 4, 2013: All Israeli F-16I fighters were allowed to resume flight operations on September 17th. Last July, for the first time since the Israeli F-16I was introduced in 1998, one suffered an engine failure and crashed.
October 3, 2013: Israeli Police revealed that in early September they had disrupted a Hamas attempt to bomb a Jerusalem mall. A Hamas operative in the West Bank had recruited two Arab employees of the mall to plant the bomb. There were three other Hamas members in Jerusalem who obtained the components to build the bomb. Israeli intelligence picked up on this scheme and it took over a week to round up all members of the terror cell. Israeli intelligence services warn that decades of Palestinian efforts to radicalize Israeli Arabs is paying off, with more Israeli Arabs openly supporting the Palestinians (who want to destroy Israel, not make peace) and supporting or joining Palestinian terrorist groups and seeking to make terror attacks inside Israel.
October 1, 2013: There were 133 acts of Palestinian violence against Israelis in September. Most of these were rock throwing and fire bombs, but several involved knives or guns and some were fatal. In August there were only 99 such incidents.
Tourists from Iran will no longer be allowed into Egypt because anti-Iran sentiments are on the increase (because of fears that Iran is helping Islamic radicals).
Israeli workers doing maintenance on the border fence came under fire from the Syrian side. There were no casualties.
September 30, 2013: Along the Gaza security fence Israeli troops fired on two Palestinian men entering the restricted zone. One man was killed and the other was arrested by Hamas police. Palestinians try to get close enough to the fence to fire on Israeli patrols or plant bombs.
In Sinai Egyptian police arrested an Islamic terror group leader. Elsewhere in Sinai clashes with Islamic terrorists left three policemen, a soldier, and a civilian dead.
Israel revealed that it had recently arrested an Iranian, who was a Belgian citizen, as a spy. He was recruited by the Iranian Quds Force (which runs overseas terrorist operations) and promised a million dollars if he could help organize terror attacks inside Israel.
September 29, 2013: The head of Iran’s Cyber War force was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle. Israel is being blamed.
September 28, 2013: In Sinai an Egyptian soldier was killed.
September 27, 2013: In Sinai an Egyptian policeman was killed and in another incident two armored vehicles were hit by a roadside bomb, wounding one soldier.
September 24, 2013: Israel made public its fears that Iran was trying to deceive the world into thinking its newly elected president represented a change in Iranian policy. Israel believes Iran is still committed to developing nuclear weapons and is trying to get economic sanctions (that have cut vital oil income by more than half) lifted any way it can, but without actually halting the nuclear weapons program.
September 23, 2013: On the Syrian border someone on the Syrian side fired on Israeli troops. There were no injuries.
An Egyptian court banned the Moslem Brotherhood but a day later a higher court delayed the ban.
September 22, 2013: In the West Bank an Israeli soldier was killed by a sniper. The killer is still at large.
September 21, 2013: In the West Bank an Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian acquaintance who planned to offer to trade the dead soldier’s body for the freedom of the killers jailed brother.
In Sinai an armored vehicle were hit by a roadside bomb, wounding two soldiers.
September 20, 2013: In Sinai two days of police raids resulted in at least 85 arrests of terrorism suspects.