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Hamas and Islamic State: The Honeymoon is Over

Jan. 11 2018

Last week, the Sinai branch of Islamic State (IS) released a video of its men executing a Hamas terrorist-turned-IS terrorist for smuggling arms and people from the Sinai to the Hamas regime in Gaza. Is the close cooperation between the two groups, which has lasted for several years, coming to an end? Bassam Tawil draws out the implications:

There are many Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who have joined IS in the past few years . . . [and many of these] are former members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, [an Iran-backed group that enjoys cordial relations with Hamas]. Some even held senior positions in the armed wings of those two terror groups.

The business of smuggling weapons and terrorists across the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has flourished for many years. Until recently, IS and Hamas were in full cooperation in this business, [which] undoubtedly facilitated some of the major terror attacks against Egyptian civilians and the Egyptian army carried out by IS in the Sinai in recent years.

IS, [however], is now making it clear that it has its eyes set on the Gaza Strip. By calling on Palestinians to rebel against Hamas, IS hopes to facilitate its mission of infiltrating Gaza. Its previous attempts to do so have been successfully thwarted by Hamas. Hamas brooks no competition. Ever. . . .

This is . . . a power struggle between two ruthless Islamic jihadist terror groups who have much in common regarding strategy and ideology. . . . For now, no one knows where this IS-Hamas feud is headed. What is certain is that the ongoing attempts by IS to infiltrate the Palestinian arena should worry not only Palestinians but Israel and Egypt as well.

If IS manages to get a toehold in the Gaza Strip, they will be that much closer to Israel’s doorstep, and their jihadists minutes from Israeli towns and cities. For the Egyptians, this means that one day they will have to fight IS not only in the Sinai but also inside the Gaza Strip. The biggest losers, once again: the Palestinians.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, ISIS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Sinai Peninsula

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism