Constant Incitement and Hamas’s Ambitions Are Behind a Spike in Terrorist Activity

On Sunday, gunmen fired on Israeli troops in a West Bank village; on Thursday Palestinian terrorists shot at a car carrying yeshiva students, killing one and injuring two others. These events come on the heels of several attacks, and attempted attacks, in the past few weeks. Yossi Kuperwasser looks at what’s behind them:

The recent uptick in terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria necessitates distinguishing between two parallel tracks that underpin the violence. One is the ongoing incitement, intended to create a consciousness of struggle in the general public, particularly among Palestinian youth. The second is Hamas’s interest in increasing terrorism within, and emanating from, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. The connection between the tangible expressions of these two trends has ignited a multitude of attacks and has unleashed fears that Israel is facing another wave of terrorist attacks.

This effort is also not new and is a permanent part of Hamas’s and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s policy aimed at harming as many Israelis as possible, [attempting to] undermine national resilience in Israel, and demonstrating these movements’ adherence to “the path of struggle,” in contrast to Fatah, while they refrain from acting from Gaza and igniting another war.

Although the [Fatah-led] Palestinian Authority works to limit Hamas’s freedom of action, it is being dragged by the competition into increasing incitement, heaping praise on the perpetrators of the attacks, and accusing Israel of executing the terrorists killed during the attacks. Thus, the Palestinian Authority itself is guilty of fanning the flames and leading more terrorists to decide that it is time to act.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Hamas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, West Bank

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