Weekend long read

1) The ITIC reports on the use of Facebook and Instagram by Hamas and the PIJ.

“The events of the month of Ramadan and the series of terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel since mid-March 2022 have once again brought to mind the use made by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) of social media as platforms to convey incitement messages and calls for carrying out terrorist attacks. Social media is popular mostly among the younger generation and is used by youths as the main means of consuming news (including fake news). It is likely that social media also influences the extent of their radicalization and willingness to take part in violent activity and in carrying out attacks.”

2) At the INSS, Yohanan Tzoreff analyses the ‘Ramadan escalation’.

“The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, ongoing for over a month, is the product of a process planned and orchestrated by Hamas several months before Ramadan. As a lesson from the conflict of May 2021, Hamas sought to use the holy sites in East Jerusalem to foment a mass protest that would once again muster Palestinian solidarity in Jerusalem, throughout the West Bank, and in Israeli territory. Although the masses did not respond to the call, the organization gained achievements in three areas: the Palestinian issue returned to the international agenda; most Arab countries, including those with normalized their relations with Israel, criticized it and even reprimanded its representatives; and the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and the crumbling Fatah movement were highlighted.” 

3) The Alma Center discusses ‘Russia’s Military Deployment in Syria and the Israeli Challenge’.

“Until the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Syria was the most extensive arena the Russian military was deployed permanently. Nevertheless, Russia will not abandon the Syrian arena, which it considers a strategic arena, leaving it in the hands of the Iranians. Before the outbreak of war in Ukraine (February 24, 2022), the Russian military force in Syria consisted of around 10,000 soldiers in 12 bases (two main ones: Tartus and Hmeimim, and ten smaller ones) and various assorted field outposts. As of now, it is not clear whether, in light of the war in Ukraine, Russia has substantially reduced the number of troops in Syria and transferred them to fight in Ukraine.”

4) At the JISS, Jonathan Spyer analyses ‘The differences between Western and non-Western US allies in the Ukraine war’.

“Israel has taken a more proactive stance in supporting Ukraine than any non-Western US allies. It has voted to support Russia’s expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council and provided a haven for around 12,000 non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees.  

Jerusalem has, however, stopped short of active participation in sanctions against Moscow. This is the critical issue that could trigger Russian countermeasures such as decreasing cooperation regarding Israeli actions in Syrian airspace.

Israel regards the prevention of further Iranian advancement in Syria as a key strategic goal. Russian acquiescence is an essential and possibly crucial factor in this. Unsurprisingly, this perceived core strategic interest accounts for Israel’s stance regarding the Ukraine war.”

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