Weekend long read

1) The ITIC explains why the Palestinian Authority is looking for ways to continue transferring payments to terrorists.  

“Financial support for terrorist prisoners, released prisoners and families of shaheeds is firmly rooted in the Palestinian ethos and, in the ITIC’s assessment, the PA does not intend to make any substantial changes in this support. However, in order to please Joe Biden’s new US administration and enable the transfer of the tax revenue funds from Israel, which the PA needs due to its economic difficulties, two “creative solutions” have recently been put forward in the PA regarding payments to terrorist prisoners and their families. One, paying stipends based on an assessment of the socioeconomic status of the terrorist prisoners and their families, instead of paying salaries based on the nature of the attack carried out by each of the terrorists or the number of years he spent in prison. Another solution, which dates back to the Arafat era, is to employ the released terrorists at the PA’s civilian institutions and its security services. This will enable terrorists to continue receiving their salaries from the PA under the guise of their “employment” at its institutions. To this end, questionnaires have already been distributed to released terrorists, asking them to specify where they wanted to work.”

2) At the Times of Israel Haviv Rettig Gur clarifies why ‘Elections are coming, but not so fast — despite Wednesday’s Knesset vote’.

“There are two ways to call new elections. The simplest: an up-or-down no-confidence vote in which 61 votes in the plenum force new elections 90 days later. The more complicated path: a bill setting the date for new elections. […]

In Wednesday’s votes, it was the opposition that was trying to dissolve the Knesset via legislation. Six separate opposition factions (three are part of the majority-Arab Joint List alliance) proposed their own bills, and all came up for their preliminary vote on Wednesday afternoon.

Although two of those bills won a majority, almost nothing will happen immediately. Wednesday’s votes were only preliminary — the first of four in the plenum required for a bill to become law.

The two successful bills now go to the Knesset House Committee – where its chairman, Blue and White’s MK Eitan Ginsburg, can delay the legislation for weeks. That is, Gantz and his party voted Wednesday for legislation he can now freeze indefinitely.”

3) Writing at the New York Post, Richard Goldberg documents how ‘Iran has been cheating this whole time’.

“Fakhrizadeh was the founder of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, known as the Amad Plan — charged with building some of the world’s deadliest weapons for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. In 2011, he broke off to lead a secretive organization called the Organization for Defensive Innovation and Research, commonly referred to by its Persian acronym of SPND.

In 2014, the Obama administration declared SPND as “primarily responsible for research in the field of nuclear weapons development” and accused Fakhrizadeh’s new organization of taking over “activities related to Iran’s undeclared nuclear program.”

Last year, the State Department revealed that SPND has employed as many as 1,500 individuals, including nuclear weapons scientists associated with the Amad Plan. These scientists “continue to carry out dual-use research and development activities, of which aspects are potentially useful for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery systems.””

4) At the INSS Raz Zimmt examines the question ‘Is Iran Really Turning from Islamic Theocracy to Military Autocracy?’.

“With the approach of the Iranian presidential elections, there is increased discussion in Iran and in the West surrounding the possible election of a “military president,” who will come from the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards and channel his military skills to the severe domestic and external challenges facing the Islamic Republic. While the standing of the Revolutionary Guards has strengthened in recent decades, and they play a prominent role in politics and the economy, any discussion of the “militarization” of the Iranian state must, inter alia, distinguish between direct intervention in politics by the Revolutionary Guards and the integration of former commanders in politics. In any case, the chances of the Revolutionary Guards taking over the Iranian political system seem slim as long as the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, holds the reins of power. Khamenei’s death could accelerate the process of militarization of the Iranian state and perhaps even prepare the ground for an alternative model of governance, with far-reaching implications for Iran’s domestic and foreign policy.”







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