How Anti-Israel Activists Turned a Palestinian Hunger Striker into a Cause Célèbre

Mohammed Allaan, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has been jailed by Israel since 2014, when he was arrested for the second time for involvement in terrorist activities. Although his recent hunger strike has made headlines in Israel and abroad, Gerald Steinberg explains that it was part of a well-coordinated effort to get him released:

The threats of large-scale violence in Israel and international condemnation if Allaan were to die [in custody] were used to pressure Israel to release him unconditionally. [The effectiveness of such a] strategy was demonstrated in the early 1980s, when ten IRA hunger-striking terrorists in British jails died, with major ramifications. To avoid a similar situation, Israel had previously freed a number of alleged terrorists in administrative detention. . . .

In this deadly political chess game, a number of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), claiming to promote moral agendas, have played a central role. The petition before the High Court of Justice, asking the judges to release Allaan, was brought by Adalah, an influential Israeli political advocacy NGO. Adalah was joined by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Arab Association for Human Rights, Al-Mezan (Gaza-based), and other groups. These NGOs are among the leaders of campaigns demonizing Israel, and the Allaan hunger strike is another means to achieve this end. . . .

A survey of NGO websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds shows the intense focus of these resources on the Allaan case, which they have presented as primarily involving the medical ethics of force-feeding and the legality of administrative detention . . . with no mention of Islamic Jihad terrorism. . . .

The successes that Allan and his NGO support group can now claim following the media campaign, the threats of violence, and his subsequent release guarantee the frequent [future] use of the hunger-strike strategy.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Islamic Jihad, Israel & Zionism, Lawfare, NGO, Palestinians, Terrorism

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy