Israel Should Bring Its Own Case to the Security Council

The fact that Mahmoud Abbas failed to convince the UN to recognize a Palestinian state does not mean that Israel responded successfully to Abbas’s bid, argues Emmanuel Navon. Last week’s Security Council vote simply showed Israel once again on the defensive. Instead, Navon writes, it should be actively pursuing its own strategy, and refusing to accept the narrative created by its enemies:

Right now, the Palestinians are trying to get what they want from Israel, free of charge—a full Israeli withdrawal from the territories without in any way weakening the demand for the “right of return.” Israel needs to work in the opposite direction: go to the UN to force the Palestinians to give up the right of return and dismantle UNRWA. Obviously, Israel will not be able to get a majority in either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council for such a proposal. But such a move would be very important psychologically and symbolically: instead of only Israel sitting in the international dock for its “refusal” to withdraw from the territories, the Palestinians will be exposed to the world as refusing to remove the major stumbling block to the two-national-state solution.

Read more at MIda

More about: Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian statehood, United Nations, UNRWA

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