Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tensions Escalating In Israel

Everyone has been optimistic about Israel of late. Over the past two months, the Antifadah has been cooling down, suicide bombings became rarer and rarer, Israel had eased the closure in the West Bank, and had stopped political assassinations. Both sides moved towards elections that would hopefully bring into power two parties that could find to build on the strides made over the past few months, maybe two parties that could find a way around the differences that plague this conflict.

Oh what a difference a week can make. Early last week we saw the reintroduction of the Qassam rocket into the conflict, the rockets now having improved range, enabling Islamic Jihad to attack the Israeli city of Ashkelon from behind the fence in the Northern Gaza Strip. And of course this prompted attacks from Israel into Gaza, and the requirement of a buffer zone in front of the fence, limiting the land given to Palestine.

Next, we had the kidnapping of 3 English citizens in Gaza, one of whom was in Palestine as a member of Al Mezan, a Palestinian rights group. The kidnappings were followed by the firing of Katyushas from South Lebanon. To the surprise of everyone, those Katyushas seem to have been arranged by Al Qaeda from Iraq, yet another new player in this troubled arena, but Israel had already retaliated against group, the PFLP-GC. Expect retaliation from this group in Lebanon.

And now we have another suicide bomber who was thwarted at the border out of the West Bank, killing one IDF soldier and two Palestinians. Probably this is political posturing as groups on both sides of the conflict position themselves in the best light to gain power in the upcoming elections.

But don’t look now; it’s already starting to spiral out of control. The mistaken attack in Lebanon is exactly the type of trigger that quickly escalates things in the region. If we don’t take immediate actions to calm things down, we may be facing another long period of unrest in Israel/Palestine. Let’s hope this can be avoided.

Posted by Scottage at 3:40 PM / | |