Seven Years of Hamas Rule Have Left Gaza Isolated and Impoverished

Dec. 11 2014

Before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, thousands of Palestinians worked and did business in Israel. But years under the harsh thumb of Hamas have stifled the area’s economy and left it increasingly cut-off from the outside world, including not only Israel but Egypt. In theory, Hamas now rules Gaza in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority, but neither is able to maintain basic services. These dire circumstances were by no means inevitable, writes Armin Rosen:

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The $35-million Israeli border terminal at Erez looks like an international airport, with a soaring wave-like dome reaching over an inviting glass facade. When it opened in 2005, Israel was about to withdraw its soldiers and civilian settlers from the Gaza Strip, formerly Egyptian-occupied land which it had held since the Six-Day War in 1967. Each day more than 15,000 Palestinians were expected to use the terminal—not an unreasonable assumption, given that more than 110,000 Palestinians from both Gaza and the West Bank crossed into Israel for work every day in the late 1990s.

But since the takeover by Hamas, a U.S. and EU-listed terror organization, traffic has precipitously declined. Erez now sees only a few hundred users a day, mostly aid workers and journalists along with Palestinians with rare permission to enter Israel for passage to the West Bank or Jordan or to visit relatives in Israeli hospitals.

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Read more at Business Insider

More about: Egypt, Gaza, Hamas, Rafah crossing

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism