For the Night of 23 June 2010
Australia: Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard today replaced Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister after winning the support of the ruling Labor Party in parliament. She is Australia's first female prime minister. Rudd stepped down after losing the confidence of his own party because of his controversial plan to raise taxes on the mining industry.
This is entirely a matter of internal politics.
North Korea: Update. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported today that North Korea will conduct a thorough investigation into the sinking of the South Korean patrol ship Cheonan. The KCNA report said results from the South Korean investigation could not convince the international community.
Comment: North Korea should have already completed an internal investigation based on normal practice. This appears to be a public relations stunt to upstage South Korea and the Allies. The North apparently senses that South Korea did not make a persuasive case at the UN and sees an opportunity.
Israel-Lebanon: On 23 June Israeli jets flew at a low altitude over parts of southern Lebanon and the villages of Bint Jubayl, as well as Hasbaya areas and western Bekaa, KUNA reported, citing a military statement.
Comment: Flights such as these familiarize pilots with targets and serve the political objective of reminding Lebanon of its vulnerability to quick retaliation for provocations. They are a weak warning indicator.
Hamas-Arab States: For the record. A prominent figure in the HAMAS Movement, Mahmud al-Zahhar, said: "The Gaza Strip has been liberated and the security bodies affiliated to the PA must set our hands free to liberate the West Bank and Jerusalem." He added that rocket launching and resistance must be in the West Bank. He exclaimed: "Is it required for the resistance and rocket launching to be limited to the Gaza Strip only?"
He said in an exclusive statement to Al-Quds: "Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the security bodies, are the ones fighting the resistance in the West Bank," pointing out that "HAMAS will not change its current policies if it wins any future elections." He added: "This is HAMAS' policy even if they continue to enforce the blockade." He said: "If we wanted to make concessions to our rights, I would be in Washington now."
He continued: "The solution lies in the resistance because the international community gave the PA a 'big zero' and Israel has not paid any attention to the Arab initiative."
Note: This is an accurate presentation of mainstream leadership reasoning and thinking. Al Zahhar accuses the leaders of the Palestinian Authority of deliberately perpetuating the schism among the Palestinians. Some polling data indicate that Hamas could win an election in the West Bank just as it did in Gaza. That would create extremely dangerous conditions for Israel. The Hamas leaders profess almost no willingness to compromise and only have done so for brief periods under coercion.
Today, The Jerusalem Post reported Israel has developed a new plan for military operations in Gaza; curious timing.
End of NightWatch for 23 June.
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