Hamas Is Using Rocket Attacks as a Form of Extortion

Over the weekend, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired more than 600 rockets into Israel, killing four and wounding more. Avi Issacharoff argues that this is a carefully planned attempt by Hamas to pressure Jerusalem into allowing further transfers of cash from Qatar:

Hamas continues to demonstrate that it maintains disciplined control over its arsenal, and has escalated the conflict with Israel in a measured and deliberate way. The terror group’s long-range rockets have not yet been deployed—a message to Israel that there is still room for talks, and that the current crisis can be ended quickly. The group’s chief demand for doing so: allowing donated cash to enter the Gaza Strip with the start of Ramadan, which [began yesterday evening]. . . .

Hamas is [also] working hard to demonstrate a high level of military discipline and a dramatic improvement in its ability to operate under fire. . . . The entire organization has gone underground—literally, into the endless tunnels that crisscross the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been preparing those tunnels for years in expectation of war, all the while showing it has the capacity to rain rockets continuously on Israel despite a massive air campaign against it. . . .

It is no longer possible to continue ignoring the woeful decision taken by the government over six months ago that created the current predicament: when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to allow suitcases carrying $15 million in cash—destined for Hamas’s coffers—into Gaza each month.

It was that decision that created the current equation of cash for calm, and which is now exacting a high cost from Israel to ensure the cash continues to flow. As soon as the cash was delayed, the deterioration was only a matter of time. Hamas understands it can extort Israel and threaten it during this week of Memorial Day and Independence Day, and with next week’s Eurovision contest.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Israeli Security, Ramadan


In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan