How Hamas Uses Palestinian Christians as Leverage

Since at least the 9th century, Jews, Christians, and some others living in Muslim lands were given the status of dhimmi or protected religious minorities. Under more tolerant Muslim regimes, this status offered opportunities for flourishing—and, for Jews, an enviable alternative to persecution and severe discrimination elsewhere. Many other rulers, however, allowed their dhimmi little more than protection from slaughter, and made clear that such protection was only conditional.

The Hamas regime in Gaza belongs to this latter category, and its supposedly moderate counterpart in Ramallah is not much better. As Andrew Doran explains, this is why, “for example, statements by Catholic institutions are pointedly critical of Israel while cautiously vague about the conduct of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.” For if these institutions told the truth, their coreligionists in Gaza could be punished:

Official Catholic statements often appeal to abstracted principles and in so doing convey moral ambivalence. This isn’t an accident: such statements are crafted so as not to provoke the wrath of [Hamas] against Christians. But these statements are misleading, for they imply a moral equivalence between the conduct of Israel and Hamas, which makes Christian dhimmi ever more useful—or the still more perverse implication that Hamas does indeed protect Christians from the Israelis, a kind of Stockholm syndrome by proxy.

Noteworthy, but seldom noted: there are no equivalent fears of Israeli reprisal. Contrary to prevalent myth, Israel isn’t the reason Christians fled Gaza or the West Bank. . . . Anyone who’s traveled the Middle East knows Christians have it better in Israel than elsewhere. [Once, a] Coptic woman told me that her time in Israel was liberating because she saw for the first time how it was possible to be a free person in the Middle East, liberated from dhimmitude. “Israel gave me to myself,” she said.

Read more at First Things

More about: Hamas, Israeli Christians, Middle East Christianity, 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