December 11, 2007 Gaza Heats UP, Teachers Strike Almost Ends


The Gaza front has heated up in the last week. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad fired an unprecedented number of rockets at Israel. The goal was to try to disrupt any peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as much as possible. Israel responded with a deeper raid than usual today. Israeli troops advanced three miles (instead of the usual one mile) into the strip and in the city Khan Yunis. Three Israelis were hurt when their tank was hit by RPG fire (the tank was only lightly damaged). Eight Palestinians were killed. The Israeli goal: to keep Hamas off balance and to put off a major attack on the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Saudis seem intent on working out an agreement between Fatah and Hamas. There are reports that a draft agreement has been worked out. Israeli observers believe that even though Hamas would like to come to some sort of an agreement, the bad blood is so strong that it is unlikely to be reached or maintained. The Saudis' reason for doing this is unclear. But, like usual, the Saudis seem to be playing both sides of the game.

The teachers strike almost came to an end today, when the teachers agreed to rather minimum raise. The raise that was offered was accepted is a ridiculous 400 shekels a month to take effect only in 2009. The government did agree to spend 1.5 billion shekels to decrease the class size. Observers believe that the sum is not enough to bring it to 30 students as demanded. The overriding reform in high school education seems off the table. What a farce. It seems that the teachers union agreed, because they feared that the teachers would not go back to work after Chanukah, under a court order and the union would be held responsible for contempt of court. Late news says that the teachers union head walked out of final talks late Tuesday night.