Improving the Gazan Economy Won’t Mollify Terrorists

On Saturday morning, missiles launched from the Gaza Strip landed off the coast of Tel Aviv, in what Hamas claimed was an accident caused by lightning. Yesterday, a machinegun was fired from Gaza into an empty field in Israel; a few days beforehand, a sniper in Gaza shot an Israeli civilian near the border fence; and Hamas has been involved in numerous terrorist attacks from the West Bank in recent weeks. These incidents suggest to Amos Gilad and Michael Milshtein that Jerusalem’s strategy of issuing work permits for Gazans wishing to enter Israel and allowing Qatari funds to flow into the Strip isn’t succeeding in maintaining calm:

Israel is working to improve the economy in the Hamas-controlled enclave to make life in the Gaza Strip better, since Israeli officials believe it will give incentive to the local population to stand up against the jihadist principles promoted by Hamas and its leader Yahya Sinwar. Hamas, however, is using the ceasefire reached following the May war to rehabilitate its military power ahead of a future conflict, and endlessly threatens to renew the violence if its demands aren’t met not only with regard to developments in Gaza, but also in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and in Israel’s prisons where many Palestinian inmates are held.

Israeli policymakers [must] change their mindsets and actions when it comes to the Gaza Strip. First, it is necessary to recognize the limitations of the Western way of thinking, which assumes that good economics can counter radical ideologies. This model has failed many times over the past decades in the Middle East.

Secondly, . . . Israel’s promotion of civil gestures toward the Gaza Strip—like giving out work permits to merchants—without demanding that Hamas return fallen soldiers and civilians, and stop rearming and promoting terror in the West Bank and Jerusalem, may result in a temporary quiet in the area, but could also become a strategic challenge in the long run.

Most importantly, Israel needs to improve its ability to understand Hamas’s logic. . . . For Hamas, the wellbeing of Gaza’s residents is a consideration, not a constraint, and Israel tends to have a hard time understanding that.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian economy

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism