Ayelet Shaked: Israeli Politics’ Woman to Watch

Calling her “the most charismatic, formidable, and ambitious female political leader to have emerged in Israel (or anywhere else, for that matter) for a long time,” Daniel Johnson examines the Israeli justice minister’s rapid rise to prominence and her ideas for strengthening Israel’s institutions:

In just over a year, [Shaked] has dominated the headlines on several different issues. Most controversially, she has challenged the supreme court, accusing it of usurping the powers of executive and legislature. The court, a bastion of the Israeli liberal establishment, has reined in successive governments of the right. But when the court recently blocked [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s plan to push through the Leviathan offshore gas project—on which the prime minister has staked his reputation—it fell to Shaked to respond. In her view, the court, influenced by the doctrines of its former chief justice Aharon Barak, has cultivated not judicial independence but judicial activism, and she insists that Israel’s constitutional balance now needs to be redressed. . . .

Shaked has provoked the international community, too. She wants to force NGOs that receive most of their funds from “foreign government entities” to be identified as such. . . . She also wants to reintroduce a law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, opposition to which brought down the last coalition. Most controversially, she wants Israel to abandon the two-state solution, annex the borderlands of the West Bank (“Area C”), which are home to 400,000 Jewish settlers, and offer Israeli citizenship to the 90,000 Palestinians there. Eventually, she envisages a confederation between the remaining Palestinian territories and Jordan. Both Jews and Palestinians would finally obtain security, prosperity, and peace.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Ayelet Shaked, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics, Jewish Home, Supreme Court of Israel, Two-State Solution

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas