Turkey Has Been Sheltering Hamas, but Israel Might Be Able to Change That

In 2011, Israel released a large number of captured terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier being held hostage by Hamas. Around the same time, Hamas closed its offices in Syria due to tensions with the regime in Damascus. Turkey thus became an increasingly important base of operations for the terrorist group, as Nadav Shragai explains:

Besides hosting Hamas offices and senior officials who planned terror attacks, Turkey has also become a safe haven for Hamas’s financial affairs, including the funding of terror organizations in the West Bank. In a report published by the U.S. Treasury Department on September 10, 2019, the United States announced that it had “designated fifteen leaders, individuals, and entities affiliated with terror groups.” . . . The report revealed that Hamas operatives and collaborators in Turkey engage in fundraising, transferring money to the military wing in Gaza, funding terror organizations in the West Bank, and running money-changing and fund-transferring companies in Turkey through which terror funds are laundered.

The information published by the Treasury Department shows that the main source of financial support to Hamas via Turkey (and sometimes via Lebanon) is Iran.

After a half-decade of ups and downs in Israel-Turkey relations, a further attempt at reconciliation is now on the agenda. This time the initiative comes from the Turkish side. According to assessments, Turkey is trying to break out of the international isolation that has befallen it, improve its standing with the Biden administration, and ameliorate the difficult economic situation within Turkey.

Turkey’s courtship of Israel in an attempt to repair relations gives Israel a golden opportunity to act effectively against Turkey-Hamas collaboration.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Hamas, Palestinian terror, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

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