If the U.S. Wants to Help Quell the Violence in Israel, It Should Apply Pressure on Qatar and the Palestinian Authority

While Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed eagerness to prevent the spike in terrorist activity in Israel from spiraling into something worse, it is not clear that the State Department has much of a plan beyond making pious statements and holding meetings. Ehud Yaari puts forth some more concrete suggestions, beginning with exerting pressure on Qatar.

Recently crowned by the U.S. as a major non-NATO ally and preparing to host later this year the prestigious soccer World Cup tournament, this tiny, affluent emirate has become the primary cheerleader for Palestinian terrorism. Not only does the ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, refrain from expressing any criticism of killing sprees on the streets of Israeli cities or speak out against youth turning al-Aqsa courtyard into a scene of violence, but he also directs his media empire led by Al Jazeera to pour oil onto the flames, constantly exacerbating tensions. For years Doha has been hosting and financing Hamas leadership, including many operatives involved in initiating attacks on Israel. The country has become an important link in the supply chain of terrorism.

True, Qatar maintains unofficial ties with Israel, even after 2000 when it closed the Israeli trade bureau in its capital, but it exploits the relations mainly in order to gain permission to channel funds to the Gaza Strip. . . . Sure, Israel sees an advantage in preventing an implosion of the Gaza Strip into dangerous impoverishment. However, it is high time to alter the equation: the U.S. should back Israel serving notice that [these funds] are no longer welcome so long as Qatar persists in encouraging violence. The arrangements for delivering aid should be suspended—not abolished—until Tamim reassesses his attitude.

At the same time, the U.S. should not object to Israel informing Hamas—first quietly and if necessary publicly—that it has to tone down preaching to young Palestinians that their sacred national duty is to carry out acts of terrorism.

Lastly, one might thank President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the half-hearted condemnation he deigned to issue in the wake of the recent terror attacks after repeated requests by the U.S., but this isn’t enough. The PA played a major role in incitement to demonstrate on the Temple Mount, spreading fabricated claims that Israel is seeking to change the status quo there.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Antony Blinken, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, Qatar

 

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