Weekend long read

1) At WINEP, Hanin Ghaddar and Aaron Zelin explain how ‘The Muslim Brothers Give Hamas a Foothold in Lebanon’.

“In Lebanon, the MB branch al-Jamaa al-Islamiyah (JAI) and its al-Fajr Forces have been involved in rocket attacks against Israel in coordination with Hezbollah. […]

The Fajr Forces currently command about 500 fighters, but the group’s primary significance is not in its military capabilities or arsenal. Rather, JAI and its armed wing are crucial to Hamas and Hezbollah because they provide a good Lebanese cover, allow for plausible deniability regarding certain attacks, and have greater access to the country’s Sunni community, which has been headless and detached from politics since former prime minister Saad Hariri left the scene in 2019.”

2) At the JCPA Suzan Quitaz discusses Al Jazeera.

“On May 5, 2024, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu posted on X that “The incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel,” following the unanimous cabinet vote to shut the Qatari-funded network’s operations in the country for 45 days. The Israeli government accused Al Jazeera (AJ) of being a threat to its national security and a “mouthpiece for Hamas.” […]

Western mainstream media and pro-Qatar supporters lined up to condemn the move, calling it an attack on “free speech,” with some projecting it would lead to widespread condemnations in Arab capitals. The AJ supporters entirely overlooked informing their readers that this was not the first time AJ was accused of “incitement.” The broadcaster has a long track record of being barred from operating in several Arab countries, including Saudia Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco, for similar charges: “threat to national security,” “incitement,” and “mouthpiece for Islamic terror organizations.””

3) Writing at Newsweek, Arsen Ostrovsky and John Spencer propose that “It’s Time to Start Using the Term ‘Palestinian Civilian’ Correctly”.

“Under international law, it is a sacrosanct principle that civilians enjoy special protection, and the intentional targeting or harming of them during hostilities, is a grave war crime. But one should not need to be a legal scholar to understand that if you are a journalist or physician holding hostages, you are no longer a “civilian.” In fact, the Geneva Convention makes it unequivocally clear that civilians lose that protection when they take direct part in the hostilities.

In other words, when you hold hostages captive, you become a legitimate military target and should not be surprised when the Israel Defense Forces come knocking on your door.”

4) At the CFR, Bruce Hoffman asks ‘How Much of a Threat Does Hamas Still Pose to Israel?’.

“According to U.S. President Joe Biden, Hamas has been “devastated” and is “no longer capable of carrying out another October 7” attack. That is without any doubt a core requirement to fulfill Israel’s strategic objectives in waging this war. But the big question is whether it is a sufficient one. It is akin to the United States claiming, for example, in 2002 that al-Qaeda was no longer capable of launching another September 11, 2001-like attack and, therefore, that the threat from the terrorist group had receded enough that a cease-fire was possible. In Israel’s case, as long as Hamas’s senior command survives and a core of combat-seasoned fighters remain, Israel will consider the Palestinian militant group to be in a position to, at minimum, continue to lob missiles and rockets onto Israeli communities, harass Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operating in Gaza, and plot even more serious attacks.”

5) At The Long War Journal, Bradley Bowman and Cameron McMillan analyse ‘The grave consequences of the UN’s failure in Lebanon’.

“Israel and the Iran-backed terrorist organization have traded almost daily blows for months, but the frequency and seriousness of these attacks have escalated in recent weeks. If the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) does not execute its mandated mission by stopping Hezbollah attacks on Israel and ensuring the group withdraws north of the Litani River, the steadily intensifying violence on Israel’s northern border could become a full-scale war with massive loss of life.”

6) At the Times of Israel, Qanta Ahmed discusses ‘The devastating reframing of Israel’s just war against Hamas’.

“Since the inception of the Israel/Hamas war, the world has witnessed the remarkable, rapid, and deeply persistent denial by millions around the world of the Hamas atrocities. The war has become the ‘Gaza war,’ erasing Hamas from the title of the war it intentionally launched.”

 

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