The Palestinian Authority Is Losing Control over the Northern Part of Its Territory

On Sunday, Israeli security personnel engaged in a shootout with terrorists in the West Bank city of Nablus, killing two armed Palestinians. The Israeli raid was a response to an increase in attacks emerging from the vicinity, perpetrated both by splinter factions within the ruling Fatah party and by rival groups outside it. Khaled Abu Toameh explains:

The presence of the gunmen on the streets in the Nablus and Jenin areas underscores the weakness of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose leaders are aware that there’s little they can do to disarm the armed groups and individuals.

The Palestinian public, meanwhile, continues to view the gunmen as “heroes” who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause. They are regarded as the defenders of the people, while the PA leaders and security forces are denounced as corrupt “traitors” and “collaborators” with Israel.

Many Palestinians, meanwhile, are disturbed by the presence and activities of the gunmen, who they say are replacing the PA security forces as law-enforcers. “There’s a feeling that the Palestinian Authority is no longer in control,” said a Palestinian academic from Ramallah. “There are too many armed men and thugs who are acting as if they are in charge.” The PA is both afraid and unwilling to deal with the gunmen, he said.

In recent weeks, many Palestinians have complained about scenes of anarchy and lawlessness, especially in the Jenin and Nablus areas, where a number of Palestinians were shot and injured in several attacks there. Earlier this week, unidentified gunmen shot and injured a retired [PA] security officer and his son in Nablus. Last Friday, gunmen shot and injured Nasser al-Shaer, a Nablus academic who previously served as deputy prime minister in the PA government.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Fatah, Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy