Palestinian Elections Could Spell Another Hamas Victory

On October 8, Palestinians will go to the polls in both the West Bank and Gaza—the first time both territories have had simultaneous elections in over ten years. While Hamas has previously boycotted elections in the West Bank, this time their candidates will participate, and they have a chance of winning. Elliott Abrams compares these elections with those of 2006, which brought Hamas to power in Gaza, and evaluates the implications of the upcoming vote:

[T]he similarities to 2006 are very striking, including the most fundamental one: allowing a terrorist group, Hamas, to contest the election without the slightest nod to stopping its terror or giving up its rule of Gaza. This is wrong for many reasons, but here are the top two.

First, Hamas may win power in a number of West Bank cities, but Fatah will not be able to [field candidates] so freely in elections in Gaza. . . .

Second, those who wish to [participate in] elections should be forced to choose between bullets and ballots. This is what happened in the Northern Ireland agreements, where the IRA had to end its guerrilla and terrorist war and could then run for office. It is a mistake with global implications to allow terrorist groups to have it all: to run for office like peaceful parties, but continue their violent activities. That was the mistake [made in the Palestinian elections of] 2006, and it is being repeated.

There is an argument for holding these elections, of course, and a powerful one. There have been no parliamentary or presidential elections in the West Bank and Gaza since 2006, and these elections provide at least a taste of democracy. They will tell us a good deal about Palestinian public opinion. And perhaps in some cases they will produce better—meaning, more responsive and competent—municipal governments. But perhaps their clearest achievement will be to show that nothing has changed since 2006 and indeed for decades more: Fatah and Hamas are implacably at odds; Palestinians are split; the Palestinian “national” government and national movement are hopelessly divided; Hamas’s brand of rejectionism and terror remains widely popular; and a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is nowhere in sight.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Democracy, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority

 

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security