With Help from Iran, a Moribund Terrorist Group Is Experiencing a Revival

In the 1960s and 70s, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) achieved notoriety with a series of airplane hijackings and other terrorist attacks, receiving support from the Kremlin as well as from other Communist guerrilla groups. Following the end of the cold war, the group faded into irrelevance. The IDF, however, recently carried out an operation against a member of the PFLP, which was responsible for the murder of the seventeen-year-old Rina Shnerb last year. Jonathan Spyer explains what has brought the organization “back from the dead”:

The movement has returned to relevance in recent months because of a burgeoning relationship developed with the Islamic Republic of Iran. This growing PFLP-Iran connection is not a new revelation. It has been well reported in recent years. [T]he specific reason for Iran’s renewed support for the PFLP relates to the Syrian civil war. The clash between the Iran-supported Assad regime and the largely Sunni Islamist insurgency led to a rupture between Tehran and the Palestinian Hamas movement which has not been entirely repaired. Hamas, which emerged from the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, strongly supported the Syrian rebellion. It maintains close relations today with Qatar and Turkey, and finds its natural home in the Sunni Islamist nexus supported by these states.

The partial loss of Hamas, combined with the Hamas’s difficulty in building armed networks in the West Bank because of Israeli and Palestinian Authority attention, has led Tehran to look further afield. The PFLP’s position on Syria was consistent and unambiguous: it strongly supported Assad throughout the war.

Like Islamic Jihad, Tehran’s longstanding proxy among the Palestinians [in Gaza], the PFLP is a small organization with a somewhat eccentric ideology possessing little appeal among the broad masses of the conservative, religious Palestinian population. It possesses, nevertheless, a tight organizational structure, a cadre of fiercely loyal militants, and a willingness to engage in violence. It now appears that Teheran’s steady investment in the movement over the last half decade has begun to deliver results.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Hamas, Iran, Palestinian terror, PFLP

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism