Don’t Give Hamas Another Dime Until It Releases the Bodies of Captured Israelis

In 2014—only two hours after a U.S.-backed ceasefire between Hamas and Israel went into effect—Hamas operatives abducted an IDF officer named Hadar Goldin and killed two of his fellow soldiers. Goldin is presumed dead, but the Gaza-based terrorist group refuses to release his remains. On Tuesday, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the American ambassador to the UN, met with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in New York, where they were joined by Leah Goldin, Hadar’s mother. She pleads with President Biden to affirm Jerusalem’s demand that Hamas return her son’s body, along with that of Oron Shaul, who was also killed in the 2014 conflict:

Earlier . . . this year your administration allocated $235 million to the Palestinians, presented as part of an effort to “restore credible engagement.” . . . But I am here, sir, with a painful reminder: no American engagement in Israel and the Palestinian territories would ever be credible until my son comes back home.

This week, [Hamas] continued to restore its capabilities, propping up some of the power stations damaged during its recent assault on Israel. When asked if the organization was indirectly enjoying U.S. aid, a State Department spokesman last week said it was possible.

I hope you instruct your senior officials to implement one simple principle: not another dime to any Palestinian organization until Hadar is brought back for burial in Israel, and not another day of negotiations with anyone—be they in Tehran or Qatar—who has any influence on the fanatics in Gaza but fails to insist on our son’s return. This is not just a sound and elementary negotiations technique—making sure promises are honored—but also a human-rights issue, the humans in question being my son and our family, which deserves the same basic dignity we wish for people everywhere.

Stand up to your promise, and you’ll win the approval of your party as well. As you may recall, a host of prominent Democrats—including Keith Ellison, arguably the most prominent Muslim in American politics and the former deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee—have joined us throughout the years in demanding that Hamas honor its promise to America. They did so because they realized that Hadar was the victim of an American-brokered ceasefire, and because they, like any decent person, were outraged by the intolerable cruelty of denying my son his final resting place.

In addition to the remains of Goldin and Shaul, Hamas has also held hostage two mentally ill Israelis, Avera Mangistu and Hisham al-Sayed. They are thought to still be alive, but little is known of their condition.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hamas, Joseph Biden, Palestinian Authority, Protective Edge, US-Israel relations

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy