Taking IS to Court

Since her days as a law student, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has made a career of using civil litigation as a weapon against terrorists. The organization she heads, Shurat ha-Din/Israel Law Center, has brought suits in Israel, the U.S., and Canada against terrorist groups, the states that back them, and the banks that give them access to funds. Her center has won judgments amounting to over $120 million in actual payments to its clients. Now she has set her sights on Islamic State:

“The question is, How does IS get the money?” Darshan-Leitner, who is in her forties, says from her Tel Aviv office. “We can’t technically go after IS. But we can go after the Arab banks that finance them. The money source. We are not talking peanuts—we are talking about several millions of dollars a day that IS gets from oil fields. There must be banks that help IS receive that money. . . . Remember that when IS took over the oil fields, they kept the same local workers and are selling to the same people. They changed the management—they put in their own guys—but they sell to the same people, the same gas stations. They sell in Turkey and Iraq—and here’s the real irony—to Assad’s government in Syria.”

Read more at Newsweek

More about: ISIS, Lawfare, War on Terror


The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas