Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

December 23, 2008--Eyes on Gaza- West Bank Economic Progress

What will happen with Gaza in the next few days seems very much up in
the air. On one hand the army is ready, the planned rotation of troops
on the border has been postponed, and many think the implementation of
the operation is just a question of when. At the moment no action is
being taken, if for no other reason than the fact that the inclement
weather impedes the full use of one of Israel's main advantages... The
Air force. Hamas has clearly folded, and any pretext trying to
renegotiate the ceasefire on better terms for Hamas has been dropped.
It would seem that over the weekend the Hamas leadership realized
Israel was ready to engage in a full scale invasion of Gaza if
necessary. They came to the conclusion that they did not want to risk
an invasion- which would result in the end of their rule, and thus
they are trying to climb down from the tree they are up. It's not
clear what is going to happen- so I will not even try to guess.

Under the general radar their has been considerable economic progress
in the West Bank in the past year and half. Much of the effort of the Palestinian Authority has been directed toward achieving these
improvements. The increased security they have been able to provide
the residents and tourist is having a clear effect. Over 1.2 million
tourists will visit Bethlehem this year, in what may be a record,
certainly the best in many years. Tourism is bringing back a level of
prosperity to the town. Similar stories are taking place in Ramallah
and Jenin.