Weekend long read

1) At the FDD Jonathan Schanzer and Joe Truzman explain ‘Why the West Bank is in chaos’.

“By the end of 2021, however, armed clashes between Israeli forces and gunmen had become routine. So it behooves us to look for the turning point. We find it in May 2021 during an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. Israeli security officials now say that Hamas made a strategic decision after that clash to abandon battles in Gaza because it is a territory the terrorist group already controls. Rather, it elected to export unrest and chaos to the West Bank, with assistance from Iran and some of its proxy groups, with the goal of taking it over. Stoking violence there has the benefit of threatening Israel and destabilizing the rival Palestinian Authority.”

2) Col Grisha Yakubovich discusses Hamas strategies at the Algemeiner.

“For the past year, Israel and the Palestinians have been in escalation mode, a phase that began under the previous Israeli government.

The sparks that lit the current escalation are unrelated to whether a right-wing or center-left government is in power, but Hamas is prepared to use the new right-wing Israeli government as justification for further conflict and violence if it finds it necessary to do so.

The escalation originates in a calculated strategy by Hamas, which envisioned, with considerable foresight, a Palestinian civil war — a scenario that appears to be around the corner — and a new opportunity to both weaken its rival, Fatah, in the West Bank, and ignite a regional explosion against Israel.”

3) At WINEP, Michael Singh analyses ‘Iran’s Nuclear Endgame’.

“…Western nuclear policy toward Iran has stagnated even as the regime’s program advanced dangerously. The United States and E3 fear that taking significant steps in a different direction could prompt Tehran to take rash action, so they have largely put the matter on the back burner apart from incrementally bolstering sanctions. For its part, Iran has been content to maintain the fiction that nuclear talks continue, as it has little incentive to walk away and potentially force the West to devise a new policy.

In the background, however, the regime has been steadily expanding its nuclear activities. Viewed in combination with its seeming uninterest in consummating the past two years of talks, the steps Tehran has taken look far more like preparations to quickly build nuclear weapons when deemed necessary than an effort to build diplomatic bargaining leverage.”

4) Yaakov Lappin reports on Hizballah cells on Israel’s border with Syria.

“Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, head of research at the Alma Center, described the Golan File as a “military terrorist infrastructure that was built by Hezbollah, with Iranian-Syrian cooperation, in order to create a new front of terrorism against Israel from the Syrian border.

“It is made up of dozens of cells, with each cell made up of local squads of Syrians. These are Sunni and Druze operatives located all along the Israeli border with Syria on the Golan Heights, from the village of Hader in the [Syrian-held portion of the] northern Golan to the triangle of borders of Israel, Jordan and Syria,” Beeri assessed.”


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