Rockets from Gaza and Riots in Jerusalem Are a Way for Palestinian Leaders to Distract from Their Own Failures

Over the past few days, Israel has seen an upsurge of violence: first isolated and unprovoked Arab attacks on ultra-Orthodox Jews, and worshippers returning from Ramadan services clashing with police in Jerusalem’s Old City. Then a Jewish extremist group marched through the city, waving banners reading “Death to Arabs,” and attacked an Arab home—after which Arabs began to riot. Not to be left out, Hamas and its affiliates have resumed the violent protests at the Gaza border fences, and fired dozens of rockets and mortars at villages in southern Israel. Khaled Abu Toameh explains what Palestinian leaders, focused on the upcoming elections for the Palestinian parliament, have to gain:

The Palestinian factions, . . . specifically Fatah and Hamas, seek to use the issue of Jerusalem as a distraction from the internal problems and challenges they are increasingly facing on the eve of the elections.

Israeli authorities . . . evidently underestimated the calls made by the factions and their leaders over the past few weeks to turn Jerusalem into a battlefield for “constant clashes” with the Israeli security forces and “settlers.” . . . The demonstration organized this past Thursday by far-right Jewish activists outside the Old City was used by the leaders of Fatah, [which governs the West Bank], as an excuse to escalate the violence. It was portrayed by the Fatah leadership as part of an attempt to “storm” al-Aqsa Mosque and the homes of eastern-Jerusalem residents.

The issue of Jerusalem is of significant importance to the Palestinian Authority and Fatah leaders, particularly in light of accusations that they have done almost nothing to assist [its] Arab residents or “thwart Israeli conspiracies” against the city and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Hamas and the Gaza-based factions, meanwhile, are also trying to cash in on the Jerusalem riots ahead of the elections. The rockets fired into Israeli territory over the weekend were aimed to show the Palestinian public that these factions are also involved in the “battle” against Israel in Jerusalem. . . . Like Fatah, Hamas is also hoping to use the issue of Jerusalem as an excuse to divert attention away from its failed governance and policies.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Fatah, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror

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