For the first time since Hamas siezed control of Gaza, Israeli forces attacked the Islamist militants early Wednesday. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the launch of two rockets that landed outside the Israeli border-city of Sderot, which caused no reported casualties. Israel retaliated by launching an airstrike on the two rocket launch-sites. Earlier in the day, they also moved tanks across the border and began hunting for wanted militants, eventually killing four militants in their pre-dawn incursion into Gaza. Additionally, Islamic Jihad guerrilla and one Fatah gunman died in a gun battle in the West Bank. More details can be found at:
Furthermore, the Israelis as well as their western supporters continued to refuse to negotiate directly with Hamas, regarding it as a terrorist organization for its failure to recognize Israel as a state and their on-going desire to ereadicate the Zionist regime. Despite this, Israel allowed the passage of 12 trucks of food and medical supplies to enter Gaza in hopes of averting a humanitarian crisis. They have also been allowing the passage of some Gaza residents at the Erez border into Israel for medical needs on a case-by-case basis. So far, those allowed through have included those wounded by factional fighting, a teenager with leukemia, and other seriously ill patients. More can be found at the following two sites:
The United States, the United Nations, and Israel of pledged to ease embargo restrictions on Palestine put in place when Hamas gained power in early 2006 in hopes of bolstering Abbas' Fatah government, though Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has thusfar not agreed to full-scale peace talks with the Palestinians. Some Fatah leaders have questioned Olmert's motivations, and Abbas' national security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, has alleged that "Israel is releasing money not because they are honorable but they just want to entrench the divide between the West Bank and Gaza" (Reuters - see first link at top of page).
It is also worth noting that, at this point, Reuters, the New York Times, and the local Star Tribune have presented comparitively in-depth coverage of the unfolding events in Gaza and the surrounding areas. It is also worth noting, perhaps, that the Star Tribune's material is an Associated Press wire, whereas both the Reuters and New York Times material do not originate from an external agency, but are reported in-house, so to speak.
For further reading, the following two links lead to Op-Ed contributions from the New York Times. The first is entitled "What Hamas Wants," and was written by Ahmed Yousef, the political adviser to Ismail Haniya, the Hamas-backed prime minister of the Palestinian Unity Government. It is worthwhile to read for the sake of garnering some insight into Hamas' perspective of the present situation, though it is not discussed herein as it is not actual news coverage. The second item is "Brothers to the Bitter End," written by Fouad Ajami, who is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. This piece details the current dynamic of the Fatah-Hamas relationship, and discusses the fundamental similarities between the two and the general asininity of the current situation. This section was also not discussed herein due to the fact that it is not actual news coverage, but it is worthwhile to read nonetheless for the sake of thorough understanding. They are as follows: