How the IDF Stopped Hamas from Establishing a New Foothold in the West Bank

On February 4 and 5, Israeli security forces entered the Aqbat Jaber refugee camp—located less than two miles outside the city of Jericho—to arrest terrorists, and were drawn into gunfights on both days. In the second incursion, five terrorists were killed, including two who had opened fire at diners in a restaurant last month in an attack that would have been fatal were it not for a jammed rifle. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the significance of these operations:

The city of Jericho is considered the quietest city in the West Bank and is located near a main traffic axis for Israeli and Arab vehicles going from the south to the north in the Jordan Valley. The presence of armed terrorists in the Jericho area is very dangerous for Israel from a security point of view, hence the importance of the IDF operation in Aqbat Jaber.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are taking advantage of the Palestinian Authority’s weakness and unwillingness to fight terrorism to establish armed terrorist groups called “battalions” throughout Judea and Samaria. So far, about ten such terrorist groups have been established in the Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarm areas.

Hamas’s Aqbat Jaber Battalion is an attempt by terrorist organizations to spread in the southern West Bank. The group grew in Jericho under the noses of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, who refrain from fighting against the armed terrorist groups, which forces the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to do the work in their place.

Hamas will try to hijack the city of Jericho and other cities such as Qalqilya and Tulkarm in its effort to provoke a new armed intifada against Israel. Smuggled weapons are flowing into the West Bank at an increasing rate through the border with Jordan and Israel’s security forces are finding it difficult to stop the phenomenon.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Hamas, IDF, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank


The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship