Why the Family-Reunification Law Matters

In Israel’s latest major political dust-up, the Knesset last week failed to renew a law that withholds automatic residency rights and citizenship from Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens. The law was first passed in 2003 and has been renewed annually since. Nadav Shragai explains the circumstances that gave rise to it in the first place:

On March 31, 2002, days after the suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya, there was another suicide bombing, this one at the Matza restaurant in Haifa. Sixteen Israelis, including three fathers with their children, were killed. The bomber, Shadi Tubasi, was an Israeli citizen who lived in [the West Bank town of] Jenin. His mother, Naja, originally from the village of Muqabla in [northern Israel], had married a man from Jenin 30 years earlier, and even though she never returned to her home village, she retained Israeli citizenship.

Thanks to the “family-reunification” policy [suspended by the 2003 law], through Naja, her husband and children—including her suicide bomber son—all obtained Israeli citizenship. Shadi exploited his, and the freedom of movement it gave him, to travel to Haifa where he carried out his horrific attack. About a third of the households in his village Muqabla were mixed Palestinian and Arab Israeli couples.

Back then, before Israel’s citizenship and entry laws were amended by a temporary order that revoked citizenship or residency from Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who had married Arab Israelis, dozens of Palestinian terrorists used their Israeli citizenship to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Israel. According to figures from the security establishment for 2001-2016, children of family reunification represent about 5 percent of the country’s Arab [citizens], but 15 percent of Arab Israeli terrorists.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli politics, Israeli Security, Knesset, Palestinian terror

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy