Why Is the State Department Criticizing Israel’s Anti-Terror Crackdown?

Recently Israeli security personnel raided the offices of several non-governmental organizations because of their close ties to Palestinian terrorist groups—receiving widespread condemnation, and not just from the usual corners. The State Department spokesman Ned Price said that American senior officials were “concerned” about the raids and stated pointedly that “independent civil-society organizations in the West Bank and Israel must be able to continue their important work.” Price added that the U.S. would examine any information about these groups passed on by Israeli authorities, but it had so far not seen any evidence it considered damning. Melanie Phillips notes, however, that ample evidence that the NGOs in question serve as fronts for terrorists is readily available in the public domain:

Since 2007, [the Israel-based group] NGO Monitor has published numerous reports based on open sources that have documented the close connections between a number of NGOs and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Last year, NGO Monitor identified a network of thirteen such groups, including the seven identified by Israel, linked to the PFLP and funded by European or other governments.

Moreover, some countries whose governments have expressed outrage at Israel’s action have themselves identified such links. [An] investigation commissioned by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) described [one such Palestinian group], the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, as being the PFLP’s agricultural arm.

In 2020, the Netherlands government admitted that part of a Dutch aid package was used to pay the salaries of two of this agricultural union’s employees charged with murdering Rina Shnerb, a seventeen-year-old Israeli who was killed in 2019 by a roadside bomb in the disputed territories, and it temporarily halted those aid payments.

But how can these governments maintain that they have seen no evidence to support Israel’s claim? What they actually mean is that they reject Israel’s evidence. This may be because the political and diplomatic parts of government often don’t know what the counterterrorism and security parts are discovering. . . . What’s more likely, however, is that such governments simply refuse to engage with any evidence that would undermine their own strategy against Israel.

Read more at JNS

More about: Europe and Israel, NGO, Palestinian terror, PFLP, US-Israel relations

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