September 29, 2014:
In Gaza the UN is making ambitious plans to repair the damage from the recent Hamas war, but Israel warns that it will not cooperate if measures are not taken to prevent Hamas from “militarizing” the reconstruction as it has in the past. This means no diverting some of the reconstruction cash to Hamas for use in supporting terrorist and anti-Israel activities. Then there is the problem with Hamas diverting a lot of the building materials to military uses. This includes building bunkers, tunnels and the modification of rebuilt homes, schools and hospitals to accommodate weapons storage and rocket launching facilities. The UN now admits this sort of thing exists, mainly because the existence of these military facilities became widely known during the recent war, so much so that even the UN could not ignore it. To further complicate matters Hamas insists there will be another war unless the blockade is lifted and Hamas is allowed to import whatever it wants. Israel will never allow that as long as Hamas also proclaims that its eventual goal is the destruction of Israel. In response to that Israel is demanding that Hamas disarm before the current truce is extended. Hamas refuses to even consider this.
Israel was not asked to join the international coalition against ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). This was because the ten Arab members of this twenty country coalition are still trapped by decades of their own “Israel must be destroyed” propaganda and rhetoric. Many Arabs now regret this rigorous anti-Israel policy but it has become a part of Arab culture and very difficult to change or even discuss openly. So despite the fact that ISIL seeks the overthrow of the Shia Syrian dictator as only the first of many conquests that include Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia and, eventually Turkey and Israel, the Arab states must play down the fact that they and ISIL agree on one thing; that Israel must be destroyed. Meanwhile since the fall of Mosul in June ISIL has continued attacking and all the Moslems nations on the ISIL target list agreed that ISIL was a threat to everyone. The Saudis called on the West to do more because ISIL will eventually turn its attention to making terror attacks in the West. The Saudis do not mention that they are higher on the ISIL hit list than the West, Israel or Turkey and that the most effective force against Islamic terrorism in the region (Israel) is not being called on to help against ISIL. Israel does not complain, since ISIL is not as much of an effective threat to Israel as it is to Moslem states in the region. Meanwhile Israel and several Arab states continue to quietly exchange data on Islamic terrorist operations. This has been going on for years and seems immune to all the anti-Israel rhetoric in Arab nations.
Egypt and Israel are not concerned with ISIL because both have more immediate Islamic terrorist problems. Israel has the Palestinians (mainly Hamas at this point) to worry about and Egypt has the radicalized members of the Moslem Brotherhood. Israel has Hamas and Palestinian terrorism under control but not eliminated. The Palestinians turned to terrorism in 2000 and keep at it despite years of failure to do anything of note. In Egypt Islamic terrorist groups are more active and successful. But as in a similar situation in the 1990s, the Islamic terrorists have support from only a minority of the population. In the 1990s this meant the Islamic terrorists were eventually suppressed (killed, jailed or driven into exile) because a hostile population helped the police. The Islamic terrorists learned from their 1990s experience and are trying to avoid civilian casualties and attacks that hurt the economy (and put people out of work). By concentrating on the security forces and government officials the terrorists are angering fewer Egyptians and making it possible for more moderate anti-government groups to continue demonstrating. Government efforts to use the courts to halt the demonstrations is not working out. The courts eventually free most of the people arrested for demonstrating in violation of new anti-demonstration laws. The courts have not tried to free those convicted of terrorism or for leading large protest organizations. Meanwhile the Islamic terror attacks on the security forces are causing growing popular anger towards the terrorists and time seems to be on the side of the government if they can get the economy going. That remains to be seen, given the endemic corruption.
The Islamic terrorist violence in Egypt is leaving several dozen people dead (and 50-100 arrested) each week, most of them terrorists. This is a war of attrition that may see several thousand more deaths before it is all over. That is in addition to the 1,400 who have already died since the Egyptian war on Islamic terrorism began in mid-2013. Also since that time Egypt has been receiving massive economic aid from the Arab oil states. Saudi Arabia has been particularly generous sending $5 billion in aid (most of in the form of oil) during the last 14 months. This aid has been essential to keeping many Egyptians from getting mad enough to back the Islamic terrorists.
Egypt signed a military cooperation deal with Kuwait. This involves joint training and the exchange of information. Just in case.
Iran appears to have been trying to get a media story going about Israeli UAVs being used over Iran and Iraq. Three times in August 2014 there were stories about Israeli Hermes UAVs crashing in Iraq, Iran and Gaza. The Iraq story was reported by a Hezbollah satellite news channel, the Iranian crash was reported by Iran and the Gaza crash was reported by Hamas (which receives regular supplies of Iranian cash and weapons). Hezbollah is also on the Iranian payroll, but is more public about it. The one thing all these events had in common was that in each of them it was claimed there was physical evidence of a Hermes type UAV crashing and that the evidence would be presented. But the evidence never was made public and the three stories faded away because they never gained any traction. Iran was also embarrassed when informed that the Hermes could not reach Iran from Israel. Iran then blamed other countries in the area for working with the Israelis. That line was quickly abandoned because most Moslems don’t believe any Moslem state would support Israel. It’s unclear why Iran chose now to try and get this story going. It is no secret that Israel keeps a close eye on Iran, especially the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The “Hermes” UAV brought down in Iran was allegedly near a uranium enrichment facility. Israel has apparently used UAVs to spy on Iran, but Israel also has spy satellites that can do the same job, although not in as much detail as with the more powerful cameras carried by UAVs.
September 28, 2014: In Egypt an Islamic terrorists group has been kidnapping and beheading Bedouins it accuses of being spies for Israel. At least ten of these killing have taken place in the last two weeks and five other Bedouin men are known to have been seized. In situations like this the Islamic terrorists are not really sure who is spying for Israel, only that such spies do exist and report on Islamic terrorist activities at every opportunity. Many of these spies are not working for Israel as much as they have offended the Islamic terrorists for one reason or another. These murders are more about gaining publicity than in increasing security.
September 25, 2014: Meeting in Egypt Fatah and Hamas announced that they had again worked out a plan for a unity government. The agreement worked out in June was denounced by the U.S., Israel and many Palestinians as a fraud. Israel and the U.S. believed that the two groups were still quite separate and neither would subordinate itself to the other. Both the older, more moderate and more corrupt Fatah and the more radical Hamas have long insisted that only they can lead all Palestinians. This lack of unity and continuing bad behavior by both groups has led Western donors to largely withdraw, or seriously threaten to, support. Arab donors offered to replace the lost aid income, but only if Fatah and Hamas united. That did not happen until this year, encouraged by real Arab plans for withholding their aid as well. Fatah and Hamas accuse both Western and Arab aid donors of trying to interfere with how the Palestinians govern themselves. That’s not true, it’s mainly about aid money being stolen by Hamas and Fatah officials instead of being used to help all Palestinians. The two Palestinian governments (Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza) are continuing to mismanage their money (from taxes and foreign aid). This is caused by corruption and the use of money to keep Fatah and Hamas in power (by creating jobs for supporters). Popular dissatisfaction at this sort of thing has made these two governments very unpopular. Many Gazans blame Hamas for the recent war and Fatah is still considered a corrupt and inefficient bunch of lying politicians.
September 23, 2014: In the north Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down a Syrian Su-24 that had entered Israeli air space while it was bombing rebel positions on the Syrian side of the border. The Su-24 only got about 700 meters into Israel before turning around. Israeli air defense forces have orders to shoot down any Syrian warplanes that enter Israeli air space and Syria was informed of that policy. The last time Israel shot down Syrian aircraft was in 1985 when two Syrian MiG-23s attempted to interfere with an Israeli reconnaissance mission over Lebanon. At the time Syrian forces occupied parts of Lebanon because the 1975-90 civil war there was still going on.
In the West Bank Israeli police cornered two Hamas men being sought for kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teenagers in June. The two refused to surrender and opened fire. The two were killed. Local Palestinians responded with rock throwing and anti-Israel chants.
September 22, 2014: A U.S. court has ruled that the Jordanian Arab Bank was guilty of knowingly providing material support for Islamic terrorists via its dealings with bank accounts and transfers conducted for Hamas. This was the result of a lawsuit filed in 2004 by 300 American who were victims or families of victims of Hamas terror attacks against Israel. The Arab Bank is now liable for damages but will first be able to appeal the decision.
September 21, 2014: It was revealed that an Israeli Bedouin had recently been killed in Syria while fighting for ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). This is believed to be the first death of an Israeli Moslem who had joined ISIL. Not a lot of Israeli Moslems have joined ISIL in large part because Israeli intelligence know who most of the radicalized Israeli Moslems are and will not let them leave the country. Sneaking out is difficult.
September 20, 2014: In the West Bank Israeli police arrested six Palestinians and ordered three more to show up for questioning.
In Egypt (Sinai) police caught three Palestinians coming out of a tunnel from Gaza. The three tried to run back into the tunnel but police opened fire killing one of the intruders and wounding (and arresting) the other two. In the last year the Egyptians have found and closed most of the smuggling tunnels from Gaza but there is so much money to be made smuggling goods and people in and out of Gaza that new tunnels keep getting built and the Egyptian police keep finding and destroying them (usually over a dozen a week).
September 19, 2014: Israeli intelligence believes that Syria has held onto some of its chemical weapons despite a 2013 deal that had them surrender those weapons in order to avoid NATO air attacks. The Israelis also believe Syria has stockpiled component chemicals for some chemical weapons and has the ability to quickly resume production. Earlier this year Israel announced that it believed that Syria again used chemical weapons on March 27th during two operations on the outskirts of Damascus.
September 16, 2014: A mortar shell was fired into Israel from Gaza but there was no damage or injuries. Hamas denied that it happened as it was the first violation of the August 26 ceasefire agreement.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to allow reconstruction to proceed in Gaza but only under UN supervision to ensure that none of the work has a military function (as reconstruction in the past did).
In Jerusalem police arrested another 22 Israeli Arabs for violent (mostly rock throwing) protests. Since July about 700 such arrests have been made.
At the UN Syria is protesting Israeli “assistance” to al Nusra rebels who have seized control of most of the Israeli border over the last week. This is no real cooperation, just an unofficial understanding that both sides will avoid violence that would endanger Israel.
In Kenya two young Iranians were arrested when they were caught using stolen Israeli passports modified to include pictures of the Iranians. The two were believed on their way to Israel, via Brussels and Israel confirmed that these were passports stolen from Israelis travelling abroad. Kenyan and Israeli police are now trying to find out what the two were up to. The two insist they only wanted to get to Europe and ask for asylum. In the past, most Iranians caught with fake Israeli passports were involved in some terrorist operation against Israel.
September 15, 2014:
The UN admitted that it had basically withdrawn its peacekeeping force on the Israeli/Syrian border. The 1,200 man peacekeeping force has been on the border since 1974 and Israel has long criticized the UN for allowing their troops to be used as human shields anti-Israel terrorists could hide behind. Now those peacekeepers are fleeing to Israel for protection.
September 14, 2014: Israel will allow another 5,000 Palestinians to obtain permits to work in Israel. These will join 105,000 who already have permits. To get a permit applicants have to pass a screening to ensure they are not involved with any anti-Israeli terrorists. It is understood that if too many permit holders are found out to be involved in supporting terrorism the permit program will be scaled back or eliminated and more foreign workers brought in. So far the Palestinians have been cooperating. In the past terrorists have been known to use blackmail or intimidation to get Palestinians with work permits to help with an attack. So far those tactics have been thwarted.
September 13, 2014: A mortar shell fired from Syria landed on the Israeli side of the border. There was no damage or injuries.
September 12, 2014: In an open letter to the government and the Israeli public
43 current or former members of the top secret Israeli intelligence Unit 8299 signed an open letter denouncing tactics (eavesdropping, blackmail) used to recruit Palestinian informants. Many of those who signed had either never worked on those operations while at Unit 8200 or were not currently doing so. Those techniques were no secret, but the open letter brought forth an overwhelming reaction, mostly negative, against the 43 reservists. In response to the open letter hundreds of other Unit 8200 members issued their own open letter denouncing the 43 for being attention seeking political opportunists who did not know what they were talking about, or didn’t care. In was only in 2011 that Israel revealed many details of Unit 8200, which has long handled cryptography, computer hacking and electronic warfare in general. Since 1952 Unit 8200 of the Israeli army specialized in cracking codes for the government. Many thousands have served and were all sworn to secrecy. Despite that it did become known that Unit 8200 existed and was involved in some very secret stuff. Eventually it was assumed that Unit 8200 has something to do with communications and security. This came about because so many men who had served in Unit 8200 went on to start companies specializing in cryptography (coding information so that no unauthorized personnel can know what the data is) and other aspects of high tech. Unit 8200 is crucial for supplying information about planned attacks on Israel, especially terror attacks on Israeli territory or Israelis in other countries. These counter-terror efforts rely on fresh intelligence and lots of speed in carrying out raids and attacks against terrorists. The objective is simple; catch the terrorists before they can attack Israelis. A key source of intelligence is an extensive informant network in Gaza, the West Bank and many Arab countries. Israel was able to build and maintain such a network in Arab areas because they have so many police and military intelligence personnel who speak Arabic and often work for Unit 8200. A large segment of the Israeli population even looks like Arabs, because they are descendants of the half a million Jews expelled from Arab countries in the late 1940s. These Israelis can easily pass as Palestinians and often do when collecting intelligence. On September 15th the Israeli Defense Minister was ordered to charge the 43 members of intelligence Unit 8200 with a criminal offense for disclosing details of intelligence operations.
A mortar shell fired from Syria landed on the Israeli side of the border. There was no damage or injuries.