Turmoil in the Middle East

Israel has already responded swiftly to the capture of Corporal Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militias a week ago. The initial response by Israel was to bomb selected targets in Gaza but it seems as if the recent Israeli run on Gaza in the attempt to free the captured corporal was pre-planned before his capture. In the end I am not trying to be biased here but as the Economist aptly puts it ... the relationship between Israel and Palestina is getting worse and worse, walled for non-subscribers.

'Into the second week of Corporal Gilad Shalit's hostage ordeal, both sides have turned up the heat. Israel, which responded to its soldier's kidnapping first by bombing bridges and Gaza's power station, sending in the army and arresting dozens of Hamas leaders in the West Bank, has bombed government offices and the Islamic University, Hamas's educational stronghold, in Gaza. In reply, on July 4th, the corporal's Palestinian captors broke off talks with Egyptian mediators. Since then, two Qassam rockets launched from the Gaza Strip have hit the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, the farthest these home-made tubes of explosive have ever flown; one crashed into the car park of a school. Hamas's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility.'

However, sadly the regional tensions and turmoil do not end here as the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Lebanese border forces has prompted Israel to engage in a full scale assault on Lebanon.

(From the FT)

'Shia Hizbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes along the Lebanese border on Wednesday, triggering an Israeli assault by land, sea and air and dramatically raising regional tension.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said Israel was now under attack from the north and south, and described the operation by Hizbollah as an “act of war” by Lebanon. He sent ground forces across the border into the south of the country for the first time since their withdrawal in 2000.

“The Lebanese government, of which Hizbollah is a part, is trying to shake regional stability. Lebanon is responsible and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions,” Mr Olmert told a news conference after meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. He added that Israel’s response would be “very painful and far-reaching.”'

And this was just as I thought things could not get any worse ... boy was I wrong.