Marc Schulman


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April 3 - Rockets in the South, Bullets in the North

The holidays have ended and so has a little of the quiet along the borders. We have had a small number of rockets fired in the south. The first one salvo of rockets was a supposed response to the death of Palestinian prisoner held by Israel who died of Cancer. Those firing the missiles are "self-defined Salafists" who are even more extreme than Hamas. Israel responded with its first air-strike on the Gaza Strip since Operation Pillar of Smoke.

The test will come in the next day or two, when we see whether or not Hamas forces the Salafists to stop the fire. It's not clear that Hamas plans to step in, although at face value they have no reason to want to the situation to worsen. Clearly the Egyptians are pressuring Hamas to keep a lid on the situation. However, understanding the relationship between Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood is not an easy matter. Clearly it's not the relationship that Hamas had expected. In many ways, the new Egyptian government has been harder on Hamas than Mubarak's government. Thus, in a Middle East that is so unstable, it is very hard to know what Hamas’s true goals are, or for that matter, who influences them. So, next time you hear an analyst or government official tell you that he is sure of…. know it's time to find a different expert.

Meanwhile, occasional fire seems to find its way on our side from the Syrian border. It seems clear that the Syrian army has no interest in drawing us in to the fighting in any way. However, it is not as clear that the rebels feel the same way. For the moment, it's not more than a nuisance– since, among other things, the Golan is lightly settled (as any border area should be). It should be noted that 6,000 people died in Syria last month.

Much of the Israeli media time during the Pesach break has been taken up by discussions on what Yair Lapid should, or should not, do as the new Finance Minister. My only comment (until I write a longer article for the Times of Israel in the near future) is that I fear because Lapid's own background in economic matters is not strong, he will not be willing to think out of the box enough to come up with some truly innovative solutions to our economic problems.


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