By Striving to Unify with Hamas, the Palestinian Authority Is Missing Yet Another Opportunity

On Monday, Russia plans to host a meeting of the leaders of various Palestinian factions, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has urged Hamas to send a delegation. With Hamas facing military defeat, and the U.S. and its allies hoping the PA will govern Gaza when the war ends, this situation presents a golden opportunity for the PA to recover some of it much-diminished clout. It seems committed instead, as Michael Koplow puts it, to trying to “turn lemonade back into lemons.”

If PA officials believe that their current moment of resurgence will last even ten seconds beyond a grand national-unity announcement with an unreformed and recalcitrant Hamas, they are badly misreading the room. That goes double for getting Israelis on board with any PA role anywhere.

The way forward must be to make Hamas less popular rather than rehabilitate it. There is a golden opportunity for [the PA president Mahmoud] Abbas and company to isolate Hamas while it is in organizational disarray, and in so doing build trust with every regional actor not named Iran, Qatar, or Turkey. But that requires a PA that will lead, that will tell Palestinians hard truths, that isn’t afraid to adapt to changed circumstances rather than spout the same slogans and positions and take the same approaches that it has nearly uninterrupted for three decades.

Read more at Israel Policy Forum

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security