Weekend long read

1) At the Tablet magazine, Matti Friedman gives his view from ‘Jerusalem of Glue’.

“There’s the Palestinian election, the first in 15 years, which was recently called off by the Palestinians’ perpetual president, Mahmoud Abbas, when he understood that his Fatah party was probably going to lose to Hamas, just like it did the last time an election was actually held. Hamas is the key player here. Without an election to win, it needs a way to demonstrate that it, not Fatah, is the real leader of the Palestinians and the real threat to Israel. It must show that its ideology of perpetual religious war is the way forward not just here but across the Middle East, as opposed to the path of compromise and normalization that we’ve seen in parts of the Sunni Arab world over the past year. For Hamas, the brave new world of Israeli bridal parties in Abu Dhabi can potentially be undone by an ugly round of violence that galvanizes Muslim sentiment. All of those reasons lie behind the launch of hundreds of rockets into Israel since yesterday.”

2) MEMRI provides an archive of statements from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders concerning the source of their weapons.

“As early as 2012, PIJ leaders had pointed out that its missiles had come from Iran. In recent years, the Gaza terror organizations have significantly upgraded their rocket capabilities, primarily with help from Iran, which has provided them with weapons and also helped them to boost their own rocket-manufacturing capabilities. Gazan officials have often highlighted the importance of this Iranian assistance, and stressed the direct involvement of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force killed in January 2020 in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, in the military buildup of Hamas and the PIJ.”

3) At the National Post, Terry Glavin explains why ‘By using human shields, Hamas doubles down on its war crimes’.

“For whatever its faults, the IDF has made great strides in limiting civilian casualties in warfare, in its Iron Dome rocket defence systems and in its expertise in flooding Gaza neighbourhoods in the vicinity of Hamas targets with cellphone alerts, and hitting targets with rooftop warning blasts in advance of missile attacks.

But innocent people still end up getting killed, and it’s a “win-win” for Hamas when that happens. Hiding rocket-launch sites in civilian infrastructure inhibits military decision-makers’ efforts to target Hamas firepower, and civilian casualties serve as “asymmetrical” propaganda victories. Each Hamas rocket is a double war crime: launched at random human targets, from behind human shields.”

4) The ITIC gives an overview of the current escalation.

“Since the tension began in Jerusalem, Hamas has systematically escalated its attacks. When the riots in east Jerusalem began Hamas initiated an intensive propaganda campaign inciting the Palestinians to violence against Israel. Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, later issued a warning to Israel and an ultimatum, which led to massive rocket fire barrages.

While in recent years Hamas has been careful not to escalate the situation along the border, and one way or another maintained the lull understandings, apparently this time the organization decided to disregard the understandings and fire massive barrages of rockets at Israel, despite the fact it was clear the Gaza Strip would pay a high price. Apparently what caused the change was Hamas’ desire to represent itself as defending Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque to make political capital with the Palestinian public in Judea and Samaria. It might also have been caused by internal pressure on the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip from senior figures abroad to push for action against Israel, since they are less committed than the Gaza Strip leadership to the welfare of the Gazan population.”

Wishing Eid Mubarak to all our readers celebrating.

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