Weekend long read

1) The ITIC reports on a lawfare conference in the Gaza Strip.

“On March 18, 2023, the International Center of Law Studies, which refers to itself as “independent” and whose offices are in the Gaza Strip, held a conference with the theme “Jurists Confronting the Occupier.” Speeches were given by members of the Hamas leadership and guest speakers, among them Richard Falk, former UN representative in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The speakers stressed the importance of legal lawfare against Israel and the fact that it worried Israel. The conference ended with recommendations for future action. […]

Richard Falk gave a militant speech relating primarily to the places holy to Islam. He said that international law protected freedom of religion and therefore the holy sites in “Palestine” had to be protected, which was Israel’s responsibility. According to Falk, the “violations” of al-Aqsa were “a crime and gross violation of international law.” He called on human rights activists around the world to provide legal protection for the Palestinians legally, to demand accountability from Israel for its “violations” and to create a real, effective system to protect the Palestinians’ holy sites and religious ceremonies.”

2) At the JCPA Yoni Ben Menachem provides updates on the Lions’ Den terror group.

“The Lions’ Den terrorist group operating in Nablus and its neighboring villages has rehabilitated itself in recent months, as new members have joined its ranks. It continues its terrorist attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians and poses a security challenge to the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The Lions’ Den began operating in August 2022, after the Jenin Battalion terrorist group was established in Jenin. Its establishment was also a result of the IDF military operation in Gaza in May 2021, the weakening of the PA, and the lack of a political horizon in the Israeli-Palestinian track.”

3) Writing at ‘Newsweek’, Arsen Ostrovsky and Patricia Teitelbaum look at the activities of Samidoun in Europe.

“Founded in 2012, and operating in Europe, North America, as well as Iran, Samidoun claims to be “an international network of organizers and activists working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom.”

The reality however is that Samidoun, and key Samidoun leaders, such as Barakat, serve as an inseparable arm of the PFLP, an EU-and U.S.-designated terror group, thereby being inextricably tied to the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

4) At the FDD, David Adesnik reports on new US sanctions against Syrian drug traffickers.

“Treasury’s explanation of the new sanctions provided much greater detail about Syrian narco-trafficking operations than previous U.S. government statements. Confirming media reports, Treasury identified Maher al-Assad, the brother of the president and commander of the army’s Fourth Division, as the pivotal figure in the trafficking network. The U.S. government imposed sanctions on Maher during the first months of the Syrian civil war in 2011 and sanctioned the Fourth Division as an entity three years ago.

Tuesday’s targets include two cousins of the president. The first is Samer Kamel al-Assad, who “oversees key Captagon production facilities in regime-controlled Latakia, Syria, in coordination with the Fourth Division and certain associates of Hizballah,” according to Treasury.”

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