Even If It Didn’t Plant the Bomb, Hamas Is Responsible for the Latest Attack on Israeli Soldiers

Feb. 19 2018

On Saturday, a bomb exploded near an Israeli unit patrolling the border with Gaza, injuring four. Separately, an Israeli tank opened fire on a group of Gazans trying to sneak into Israel. The IDF has responded to the bombing with airstrikes on targets in the Strip connected to terrorist organizations. Eyal Zisser comments on the situation:

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for detonating the explosive device, . . . and the IDF has also avoided pointing an accusatory finger at any of the power players in the Strip. But . . . an attack like that could not have been executed without Hamas’s approval, even if merely tacit.

In any case, even if Hamas didn’t know a thing about the bomb, its lack of response against the perpetrators proves the group’s willingness to tolerate such attacks and even to welcome them. After all, there is a clear working order in Gaza. Seeking to preserve its rule, Hamas avoids carrying out terrorist attacks in order to prevent Israeli military responses. But all the while, Hamas continues to dig terror tunnels and improve its missile arsenal.

Hamas leaves the dirty work of perpetrating terror attacks to the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, whose command center is in Damascus. . . . There are also a number of terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip that refuse to accept Hamas’s authority. . . . In addition, terror cells affiliated with the Islamic State group in Sinai are also active there. Hamas tolerates the activities of all of these groups and does nothing to counter them.

The border incident on Saturday proves yet again what we learned during the 2006 Second Lebanon War: when you tolerate provocations along a border for too long, such as protesters “just” trying to breach a border fence or “just” throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, you can be sure that terror attacks are never too far off.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, ISIS, Islamic Jihad, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security


The Danger of Hollow Fixes to the Iran Deal

March 20 2018

In January, the Trump administration announced a 120-day deadline for the so-called “E3”—Britain, France, and Germany—to agree to solutions for certain specific flaws in the 2015 agreement to limit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Omri Ceren explains why it’s necessary to get these fixes right:

[Already in October], the administration made clear that it considered the deal fatally flawed for at least three reasons: a weak inspections regime in which the UN’s nuclear watchdog can’t access Iranian military facilities, an unacceptable arrangement whereby the U.S. had to give up its most powerful sanctions against ballistic missiles even as Iran was allowed to develop ballistic missiles, and the fact that the deal’s eventual expiration dates mean Iran will legally be allowed to get within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear weapon. . . .

A team of American negotiators has been working on getting the E3 to agree to a range of fixes, and is testing whether there is overlap between the maximum that the Europeans can give and the minimum that President Trump will accept. The Europeans in turn are testing the Iranians to gauge their reactions and will likely not accept any fixes that would cause Iran to bolt.

The negotiations are problematic. The New York Times reported that, as far as the Europeans are concerned, the exercise requires convincing Trump they’ve “changed the deal without actually changing it.” Public reports about the inspection fix suggest that the Europeans are loath to go beyond urging the International Atomic Energy Commission to request inspections, which the agency may be too intimidated to do. The ballistic-missile fix is shaping up to be a political disaster, with the Europeans refusing to incorporate anything but long-range missiles in the deal. That would leave us with inadequate tools to counter Iran’s development of ballistic missiles that could be used to wipe Israel, the Saudis, and U.S. regional bases off the map. . . .

There is a [significant] risk the Trump administration may be pushed to accept the hollow fixes acceptable to the Europeans. Fixing the deal in this way would be the worst of all worlds. It would functionally enshrine the deal under a Republican administration. Iran would be open for business, and this time there would be certainty that a future president will not act to reverse the inevitable gold rush. Just as no deal would have been better than a bad deal, so no fix would be better than a bad fix.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Donald Trump, Europe, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy