Hamas and Hizballah Won’t Give Up Their Radical Goals for Economic Benefits

June 18 2021

In his first interview after leaving office, the former head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, admitted that he had erred in believing that Israel could come to some sort of accord with Hamas. In his own words:

I thought we had an arrangement. I wanted to believe that because of all the effort we put into bringing about times of peace that we desperately need here [in Israel] and there, [in Gaza], . . . I admit I believed—wholeheartedly believed—that if the residents of the Gaza Strip saw their wellbeing improve, . . . their motivation for crises and wars would decrease. It seems I was wrong. I was wrong.

Dan Schueftan observes:

Jews have been making this mistake for over a century. In the early years of statehood, Moshe Sharett, who would become the second prime minister of Israel, explained that Zionism was built entirely on national consciousness, not on getting Jews to feel that they are better off. Yet, when it came to Arabs that lived in Israel, it expected them to voice their opinions on the economy and progress, entirely ignoring the national problem.

The damage of such an outlook becomes greater when combined with an analytic and perceptual error that is prevalent among intellectuals who believe that pragmatic behavior indicates that the leaders are transitioning away from radicalism. . . . Such an assumption is based on a faulty understanding of radicalism and a lack of knowledge of world history.

Hizballah, Hamas, and the Iranian regime are radicals, even when they act pragmatically. Israel must deter them instead of “believing wholeheartedly” that their aggressive and violent nature can be changed if their standard of living improved.

Read more at JNS

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, Mossad

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy