The Recent Palestinian Prison Break Brings Back Bad Memories of a Previous One

Sept. 10 2021

On Monday, six convicted terrorists escaped from Israel’s Gilboa prison, triggering both public displays of euphoria and outbursts of violence in the West Bank and Gaza. Yaakov Lappin draws some unsettling historical parallels:

In May 1987, six senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) security prisoners escaped from an Israeli prison in the Gaza Strip. In October of that year, a gun battle between Israeli security forces and five of the escaped prisoners erupted in Gaza’s Shejaiya neighborhood district. The cell’s members were killed, and an Israeli Shin Bet member, Victor Arajwan, was also killed in the firefight. The PIJ to this day considers the incident to be a catalyst for the start of the first intifada.

In Monday’s escape, five out of the six prisoners are PIJ terrorists convicted of taking part in deadly attacks on Israelis, while the sixth, Zakaria Zubeidi, is the former commander of the Fatah-aligned al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin. All six are from the West Bank city of Jenin, which lies just across the Green Line from Gilboa prison.

Lappin cites the opinion of David Hacham, who served as an Arab-affairs adviser to seven Israeli defense ministers, and is deeply concerned about the fallout:

“This is a serious failure on the part of the Israeli prison system. But [the failure] projects onto the entire Israeli defense establishment,” said Hacham.

“This is the reoccurring theme in how Palestinians are describing the event,” he continued. “People I speak with in Ramallah are calling it a ‘heroic Palestinian operation,’ which has exposed Israeli security forces [as weak or incompetent]. Three of the terrorists were designated high-risk escape candidates. Zubeidi was a central figure from the second intifada. The group includes two PIJ members who are brothers. All of these were in a single cell.”

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Read more at JNS

More about: First intifada, Islamic Jihad, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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