Hamas and Fatah Make Peace, Shattering the Fantasy of Mahmoud Abbas’s Moderation

On Thursday, Jibral Rajoub—a senior figure in the Fatah faction that has controlled the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its inception—and Saleh al-Arouri, the head of the Hamas military, gave an unprecedent joint press conference. The two pledged unity in countering the Trump administration’s peace proposal and Israeli plans for extending its sovereignty into areas of the West Bank. David Horovitz comments:

Here . . . was one of President Mahmoud Abbas’s most senior colleagues . . . and potential successor, who once worked in close coordination with Israeli security forces, grandly declaring that Fatah was henceforth partnering with Hamas: an Islamist terror organization . . . that thirteen years ago brutally forced Abbas’s Fatah out of the Gaza Strip, and would have long since finished him off in the West Bank too, were he not protected by Israel’s ongoing security presence there.

It was . . . a stinging blow to the lingering hopes of those on the Zionist left who, in the face of years of contrary evidence, still insistently regard Abbas as a potential peace partner with whom Israel might be able to reach a dependable peace agreement. It was bitter confirmation for the consensus view in Israel, hardened in the course of Abbas’s intransigent stewardship of the PA after the death of Yasir Arafat, that Israel dare not risk relinquishing adjacent territory to the Palestinians under his rule.

Plainly, the Trump administration can put aside any thought of the Palestinian leadership engaging with its Peace to Prosperity vision, notwithstanding U.S. officials’ intermittent assurances that the proposal’s terms are not final, and that the goal is for the Palestinians to come back to the table, where they could propose changes.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Peace Process, Trump Peace Plan

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy